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"How do you spell 'FBI'?"
Rex, Toy Story 2

When Bob asks a question and the answer to the question is actually part of it. At first Bob doesn't realise this, but after a moment of reflection (expect a Beat or even a Beat Panel) he realises that he just answered his own question.

Bob will then often remark something along the lines of "Right." or "Forget I asked". Sometimes Alice will point it out to him. If Bob doesn't realize what he just did, there's a good chance that Alice will point it out anyway.

The Ditz will use a more basic version of the trope, asking how to spell "ABC" or how to call 911.

A variation of this trope is when Alice is discussing something, making a presumption Bob doesn't agree with. Bob will ask an either/or question, restating Alice's presumption and an alternative that would normally be reasonable. Alice and Bob will pause a moment, often burst out laughing and continue with Alice's original discussion as if nothing had happened.

Alice: I'll be off this weekend, so I'll bring Tropey to your place on Friday.
Bob: Wait a second! You just assume I'll be there to look after Tropey? You don't think I might have a date Friday evening?
Alice: I'll be there at 18:00.
Bob: Bring a six-pack.

Differs from a rhetorical question in that Bob actually expects an answer when posing the question.

Compare Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?, Ask a Stupid Question..., Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!.


    open/close all folders 

  • A McDonald's advertisement celebrating the USA's bicentennial has the Grimace asking Ronald McDonald, "How do you spell USA?"

    Anime and Manga 
  • In One Piece, Zoro and Sanji discuss how the damage the Going Merry has incurred can't be fixed.
    Sanji: We've traveled together on this ship all the way from the East Blue to this place. Why now?
    Zoro: You just answered your own question. Human beings become stronger hardship after hardship. But ships are different. Their wounds just pile up.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episode 44, Little M. asks Big M. what the number for 110 is. (110 being the emergency number for the police in China; the English dub changes it to 911.)

  • George Carlin about losing things:
    "You what?" I lost my yo-yo. "Well where did you have it last?" Eh! If I knew that... I'd still have my yo-yo. "Well... it must be somewhere." Right! "Well it just didn't get up and walk away". That one always got to me. 'It just didn't get up and walk away'. One time I lost the cat. It just got up and walked away. Then she actually started to say it to me... "Well, it just didn't get up and ... *cough* *cough*" Eh ma. I think you've figured this one out.
  • Bill Engvall has this as part of his Ask a Stupid Question... shtick when someone asks him what time the Christmas midnight mass starts.

    Comic Books 
  • PS238 has Atlas wondering why he should accept the throne of a planet full of corrupt aristocracy:
    Atlas: But why should I stay? This whole place is run counter to just about everything I believe in.
    Rebel: If what these boys told me is true, then you've answered your own question.
  • Scott Pilgrim: Scott does this early on: " What's the website for that?" Wallace still has to answer it for him.
    Scott: Cool, thanks!

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: (June 4, 1995) During a sales pitch from a vendor where Dilbert tells the salesperson they're going with a company whose products actually work, the salesperson threatens to go directly to the boss and make the sale anyway.
    Wally: Do you think our boss will believe a vendor over his own loyal employees?
  • One Garfield Sunday strip has Garfield suddenly dash into the room, whipping about in some kind of frenzy and alarming Jon.
    Jon: Why do cats do that? It drives me nuts!
    Garfield: [reaches up and pinches Jon's cheek] You just answered your own question, boopsie!
  • Jeremy's mother from Zits does this at one point:
    Mom: Why do you keep cracking your knuckles like that?! It's driving me CRAZY!!
    Jeremy: [thinking] ...I love it when she answers her own question like that.

    Fan Works 
  • The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Ringo asks the wizard Shaamforouz whether he'll ever learn to see through masks, noting that "even the weak ones can get flashes." "You have answered your own question," the wizard responds. This is entirely meaningless in context.
  • In Luminosity, when Maggie asks what she has to do to win Gianna over:
    Alice: First of all, don't eat anybody. Gianna is quite forgiving, but that also means she'll forgive Bella if you eat someone and Bella kills you, and then where would you be?
    Maggie: ...Dead, presumably.
  • Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past: When Draco finds out about Harry joining the Gryffindor Quidditch team, the following exchange occurs.
    Draco: Who the hell do you think you are, Potter?
    Harry: I think you just answered your own question, Malfoy.

    Films — Animation 
  • Toy Story 2; When Rex runs into the middle of the "crime scene" model the other toys have constructed, he's asking, "How do you spell 'FBI'?"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Hunt for Red October: Jack Ryan asking himself "How do you make them want to get off a nuclear submarine..."
  • Idle Hands: Mick says, "I'm... gonna call 911. What's the number?"
  • The Little Rascals movie:
    Buckwheat: Quick! What's the number for 911?
    Porky: How do I know?
  • Snatch., about Boris the Bullet Dodger:
    Avi: Why do they call him the Bullet Dodger?
    Tony: ...'cause he dodges bullets, Avi.
  • Star Wars - Return of the Jedi: As the Rebel fleet is approaching the second Death Star, Lando gets word that they can't tell if the deflector shield protecting it is up or down because of jamming, prompting him to ask, "How could they be jamming us if they don't know... that we're coming. Break off off the attack! The shield is still up!"
  • The Straight Story: Dorothy asks "What's the number for 911?"
  • With Six You Get Eggroll Flip asking how much sixteen-penny nails are sounds like this, but the term actually refers to the size, not price, of the nail.
  • The World's End Gary has this problem, and tends not to even realize he's answered himself until someone else comments.
    Gary: What the fuck does "WTF" mean?
    Peter: [reacting to the situation] What the fuck?
    Gary: Oh, yeah.

    Live-Action TV 
  • ALF: At the end of the episode "Strangers in the Night", when Nosy Neighbour Mrs. Ochmonek hears noise outside she grabs the phone and ask "Operator, this is an emergency. What's the number for 911?" In her defense, Alf had been messing about the house while she was watching Psycho, so she was a little-high-strung.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Penny tells Leonard that everything goes wrong with their relationship when they talk. She then adds that she had an 8-month-long relationship with a guy named T.J. and they never talked.
    Leonard: Wait, if you guys never talked, what did you... Never mind. Stupid question.
    • When the group is cleaning out the garage in Howard's home for a garage sale, they put a sticker on everything that's to be put out for sale, and Howard sees a sticker on his full-size replica of a TARDIS:
    Howard: Why is there a sticker on this? It's my TARDIS. From Doctor Who. I was planning on moving it in the house.
    Bernadette: I think you just answered your own question.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • In "Stakeout" Rosa refuses to do a four-day stakeout and Amy asks why:
      Rosa: I'm out. Four hours is the most time I've ever spent alone with any human. It was the worst experience of my life.
      Amy: What about that time we drove up to Boston together? That was about four hours. Oh, I see what just happened.
    • Rosa herself is on the receiving end of this in one episode, when she wonders why her deskmate doesn't just admit to his annoying habits... in such a way that makes it abundantly clear why he might be wary of admitting to things that irritate her:
      Boyle: Why don't you just ask him to stop shaving at his desk?
      Rosa: He denies even doing it; I don't know why. Next time I catch him shaving, I'm gonna punch him so hard in the mouth he bites his own heart.
      Boyle: ... Could that be why he denies doing it?
      Rosa: [as if this is a revelation] Oh yeah, you could be right, yeah.
  • Coupling: Sally in the episode "Inferno":
    Sally: I've never understood men's obsession with lesbianism — a whole area of sex with nothing for them to do. I've just answered my own question haven't I?
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Journey's End": When discussing a Doomsday Device called the "Osterhagen Key", the Doctor demands to know who would invent such a thing... then realizes that it was probably someone named Osterhagen.
    • "Asylum of the Daleks": There's a distress signal coming from the titular planet, so the Doctor has a question:
      The Doctor: Have you considered tracking back the signal and talking to them? [Daleks are silent] ...he asked the Daleks.
  • Frasier:
    • In "My Coffee with Niles", Niles is confused to learn Roz can't stand him.
      Niles: Why should I warrant such strong emotions? I barely acknowledge her existence.
      Frasier: Think you may be onto something there, Sherlock.
    • In "Police Story", Frasier is pulled over for speeding while trying to get Roz to her dinner date on time, and the arresting officer sees from his license that it's his birthday:
      Roz: Frasier, why didn't you tell me it was your birthday? I'd have thrown you a party at the station!
      Frasier: Question asked, question answered.
    • In "To Kill a Talking Bird":
      Frasier: Niles, why would you even want to live in such a stodgy building? You know, when I applied there, they treated me like riff-raff.
      Niles: Well, if you're going to ask and answer your own question, what do you need me for?
  • The Golden Girls: Rose once dialed information to get the number for 911.
  • Hustle: When the team of grifters is looking for a place to stay — having been run out of every hotel in the city that's fancy enough for their standards — Eddie grumbles, "Why don't you just pay your hotel bill like normal people?... I can't believe I asked that."
  • Jeopardy!: Occasionally, there will be a category called "Stupid Answers"; in this category, the correct response to each clue is in the clue. This being Jeopardy!, the response is not always obvious:
    Clue: Now named for James Brady, this room in the White House is where the briefing of the press takes place.Response
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look has a sketch in which a Mad Scientist builds a "Giant Death Ray", which turns out to be an oversized supermarket scanner.
    Major Agnew: Well, one question that obviously leaps to mind, Professor, uh, Professor...
    Professor: Death.
    Major Agnew: ...Professor Death, is why on Earth you elected to name this contraption of yours the Giant Death R— oh, I see.
  • Veronica Mars, in the episode "Clash of the Tritons":
    Veronica: Who framed me?
    Rick: They're called the Tritons. It's a secret society at school.
    Veronica: Why haven't I heard of them? (Beat) Stupid question.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place, in the episode 'Justin's Little Sister', Mr. Laritate is shown asking his students such questions as, "The French & Indian War was fought by three groups of people. Name two of them." and "The War of 1812 started in what year?" However, he ends up asking Alex a much harder question, seemingly just to belittle her for not being as studious as her brother.
  • World's Dumbest... shows a video of yet another stunt gone wrong, capped by a woman on-scene saying "911 number, anyone? Does anyone know the 911 number?"
  • On You Bet Your Life, Groucho Marx hated to see a contestant leave without any winnings, so if a contestant was doing badly, he would ask the question, "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?"

  • in the MAD parody of Superman: The Movie movie, someone asks why everyone is fleeing a disaster site when "the government told us there's no danger." The reply: "You just answered your own question, buddy!"

  • David Byrne invoked this when being asked about a Talking Heads reunion:
    "I'd get these bizarre letters from Tina," he said, gritting his teeth. "They'd say what a fucking dumb jerk and asshole piece of shit I was. It would go into detail how badly I'd behaved. What a terrible person I was. How hard I was to work with. How unfair I was. It was this thing meant to make me feel real terrible and how much 'I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.' And then in the end she'd go, 'Why don't you want to work with us? Why in the world don't you want to work with us? What's the matter?'" Byrne paused and sighed. "You've answered the question. Look at the beginning of your letter, look at the end. You've answered it. There is some kind of weird denial going on."
  • The closing line of Pink Floyd's "One of My Turns" is "Why are you running away?" It's in reference to the groupie from the song, who Pink (the character) frightens away when he goes berserk during the song in question, tearing apart his hotel room in the process.

  • It Pays to be Ignorant, a parody of radio quiz shows, featured this kind of question:
    • "Who wrote the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and what famous historical figure was it about?"
    • "What season of the year does spring fever refer to?"
    • "What color was George Washington's white horse?"
      • The irony in that last one, however, is that it most likely wasn't white. White horses are, in terms of skin color, grey, unless they're albino.
  • The Ricky Gervais Show: Karl asks, "What are those things from Gremlins called?". It turns out the answer he was looking for was 'Mogwai', but Ricky and Stephen still mock him for how he chose to phrase the question.

  • When the idea for The Transformers was being pitched to Hasbro, an executive apparently expressed concern over the leader of the bad guys being called Megatron, on the grounds that it sounded like Megaton, which was kinda sinister.

    Video Games 
  • Idol Manager: One of the questions in story mode's quiz show is the location of the Tokyo Tower. The question is asked while the player has an incentive for Deliberate Under-Performance, so it's possible to answer it wrong.

  • Ur in 8-Bit Theater, after being killed.
    Ur: What the hell is this?
    Kary: You answered your own question, pal.
  • Avalon:
    Alan: Hey Alison, when's the New Year's party this year?
    [2 Beat frames]
    Alison: December 31st?
    Alan: Whoa whoa... is that it, or are you asking me?
  • Basic Instructions: Scott insists that "fifth" and "sixth" ends on an additional "t" to the frustration of Rick who tries to correct him in vain.
    Scott: And on the firstth try!
  • El Goonish Shive has a few cases:
    • When being shown some of the various morphs Uryuom can select at will:
      Elliott: That's really cute. But why do you need cat forms?
      William: I think you just answered your own question.
    • In the same vein: "I don't know how our prized lockpicking gorilla escaped, but..."
    • When Grace is wondering whether Justin would have noticed his magic mark: "How could he miss a small flame-shaped mark colored slightly different from the rest of his skin on a spot high up his back where he'd probably need a mirror and probably have to make a deliberate effort to dammit"
    • When Diane gets to school the morning after she got a haircut and decides to dress less provocative than usual, she isn't immediately recognized and she hears her schoolmates talk about her. Most of them seem to consider her nothing but a promiscuous bimbo. As one of the girls remarks.
      "Why do boys flock to her? Besides sleeping with her?
      ... That's all they need, isn't it?"
  • Erfworld: Occurs in a conversation between Parson and Charlie:0
    Charlie: What were they doing in that black raiment, fighting for Gobwin Knob?
    Parson: If you read that question again, Charlie, you'll notice that it answers itself.
  • Freefall: When robots are being trained as a police force for the planet's non-human population.
    Deputy Mayor: Our non-human population consists of one person, Sam. Do we really need an entire police force for one larcenous squid?
    Police Robot: Sir, I believe if you look past the obvious answer, you'll see one that's even more obvious.
Made even funnier by the fact that it works both ways. While they are actually a police force for A.I.s, having an entire police force dedicated to Sam would not be that unreasonable.
  • Friendship is Dragons: When the Mane Six enters the ruins where the Elements of Harmony are kept, Applejack wonders where their enemy is.
    AJ: Then what the heck is Nightmare Moon up to anyhow? Is she waitin' outside or somethin'?
    ... Aw, shoot, I just answered my own question.
  • Grrl Power: Sydney in one "talking head", post-strip part:
    Sydney: What is it with martial artists always wanting tougher oppon... No, wait, I answered my own question.
  • Kevin & Kell: Ralph accidentally lands a contract to host the WikiBreaks site. When Kevin expresses his discomfort about this, Ralph asks: "How would anyone ever discover a connection between us and this site that exposes every secret under the — " [Beat] "Oh. Right."
  • Ménage à 3: When Yuki is trying to come to grips with her potential feelings for Gari, he runs in on hime when he kisses somebody else. She ducks away and starts to muse on what she just saw.
    Yuki: He... he kissed another girl! How can he do that when he doesn't even know that I might possibly consider liking him? [Beat] Oh right... all that stuff I just said...
  • The Order of the Stick: One comic has the group wandering through a maze, and Elan tries to be helpful.
    Elan: Can't we drop breadcrumbs like that story where they dropped breadcrumbs but the birds came and ate them all and they got lost and never mind I get it.
  • Something*Positive: Davan makes some jokes about Wicca in his web comic. When Kim, an African-American friend of Davan's, tries to explain to a self-identified "10th generation Wiccan" that Davan's jokes aren't meant to single out one specific religion, this exchange occurs.
    Overreacting Wiccan: You'll never know what it's like to live with the pain of your ancestors being oppressed for who they were! That they lived in fear because they might get lynched! To know they'd suffered so I'd have the right to—
    [beat panel]
    Kim: Do you need some time to comprehend why saying that to me makes you stupid?
    Overreacting Wiccan: ... No, I think I've figured that out.
  • Survivor: Fan Characters: In one strip :
    Hugo: Taylor said that "he" showed her the idol, and there are only four guys, and I know I don't have it so... [...] [to Charlie] Well, either Hogan or Sky has it; one of them is lying.
    Charlie: It could be Craig; he's a guy.
    Hugo: Like I said, either Sky or Hogan is lying.
  • Ubersoft: When the Boss tries to find out which of the 3 Binky's is the father of Jingles, the Cheerful Google Notification Bell:
    Boss: There are three entities that might claim that name: one has been transformed into a sophisticated office supplement and is a prominent spokesman for Apple. One is a childlike creature whose manufactured innocence makes him a poor candidate for procreation. One is an embittered alcoholic. Haunted by a legacy of poor and impulsive decisions...
    Boss: Ah yes. I see.
  • xkcd's "Local g": "Crap! How did the pole-vaulters get up to our balcony?"

  • RinkWorksComputer Stupidities has a section named "The Bleeding Obvious", which features customers who ask questions like "How many pins does a sixteen-pin cable have?" and "What program do you use to make a Word document?"

    Web Videos 
  • Bronies React: In the episode for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks:
    Animated James: Okay, why are they all sabotaging this specific act? I mean, why don't they sabotage Snips and Snails'... okay, nevermind, I answered my own question.
  • Critical Role: In "Agreements", having learned that the city of Rosohna has religious ceremonies to dispel the ever-present clouds and allow the sun to shine, Fjord asks his guide Essek how the events are announced. Essek politely reminds him that the sun will come out.
    Fjord: Now that I'm saying it out loud, I feel kinda stupid.
    Essek: It's all right.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • When it becomes apparent to all the cast who Trunks really is:
      Piccolo: Trunks? What are you doing here?
      Vegeta: Ha! That's a girl's name.
      Krillin: Isn't that the name of your kid?
      Vegeta: What, are you trying to imply that this wannabe-Super Saiyan from the future is my so... [tails off in realisation]note 
    • After the cast waiting back at Kami's Lookout realize that Krillin crushed the remote meant to blow up Android 18:
      Tien: I don't understand! All he had to do was push the button and blow up the... the girl.
      Bulma: Oh, that makes sense.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In one episode, Coconuts asks what he would want with a "two-ton baby ape who can lift giant rocks and fire bananas like a shotgun" who thinks Coconuts is his daddy. He promptly realizes that this would be a perfect ally to help him catch Sonic and get in good with Robotnik.
  • Archer: Invoked for laughs in the episode "Jeu Monaguesque".
    [Archer walks in, sipping a martini and carrying a Briefcase Full of Money]
    Malory: Sterling? Why isn't the briefcase handcuffed to your drinking hand?!
    Archer: Pretty sure you just answered your own question, there.
    [casually takes a sip]
  • Arthur: In "The Substitute Arthur", Arthur and Buster are playing a board game when Buster gets the trivia question "Who wrote Beethoven's fifth symphony?". He is unable to answer.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Zatanna in the episode "Zatanna". In reality, it's because Batman befriended her as Bruce Wayne when the two were teenagers, though she doesn't figure that out until later. Though the nylon thing might still apply.
    Zatanna: What do you care about some leggy dame in nylons? Or did I just answer my own question?
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: In the episode "Unearthed", when the Non-Malicious Monster stops fighting the Power Trio :
    Kevin: Is that Monster for "I give up"?
    Ben (as Humongosaur): Do I look like I speak Monsterese?
    [Beat while Kevin gives an Aside Glance]
    Ben: Oh... Right.
  • Daria: Daria's neurotic father Jake once asked "What's the number for 9-1-1?!" in a panic.
  • Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Home Sweet Homing Pigeon", Dastardly persuades Klunk, Zilly and Muttley — who have all been discharged — to sign his memory book (he's actually tricking them into signing re-enlistment forms).
    Klunk: How do you spell "X", chief?
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: One episode has the Kanker Sisters freak out when their heirloom ship-in-a-bottle is seemingly stolen by a burglar (it was actually taken by a sleepwalking Ed), and May rushes to the phone.
    May: What number do you call for 911?!
  • Family Guy: In "Friend of Peter G" (in a DVD-exclusive scene), Peter and Brian go into a movie theater and watch the pre-movie trivia slides, one of which asks "Name the female star of Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts."
    Peter: Fuck. You guys got any questions for people who are not Hollywood insiders? Jesus.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Room With a Feud", after Pointdexter Dorkface III gets adopted, his room becomes available to any imaginary friend who wants it. When Wilt expresses his desire to move into it to Mr. Herriman, Herriman asks him "Master Wilt, why would you desire a room with such tall ceilings, a long bed, and... basketball wallpaper?" before realizing the room is perfect for him.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Dr. Drakken is surprised to hear about a connection between one of the classmates who laughed at him in college and his arch-nemesis: "Wait, you mean Dr. Possible and Kim Possible are related?" He tries to cover for his oversight by insisting that "Possible" is a very common surname and trying to "prove" it with a phone book.
    • In the Christmas Episode, Ron asks the operator "What's the number for 9-1-1?"
  • Mission Hill: Episode 5 has Ron promote an extremely reluctant Andy to assistant manager (Andy only accepted because he had lost confidence in ever making it as a cartoonist). As part of his "management training", Ron buys Andy an extremely tacky purple suit.
    Ron: Nice, yes? You like, no?
    Andy: I think you just answered your own question.
    Ron: Pah!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the 8th season episode "School Raze", when the princesses and the Mane Six are discussing the disappearance of magic from Equestria.
    Twilight: Has anypony checked on Tirek?
    Pinkie Pie: You mean the big, red, scary centaur who eats magic? Why would we want... Oooh, riiight.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer in the episode "Bart vs. Thanksgiving": "Hello, operator? Give me the number for 911!"
    • In "This Little Wiggy" after Chief Wiggum catches Bart and Ralph in his closet, which he told Ralph not to go in:
      Wiggum: What is your fascination with my forbidden closet of mystery?
  • South Park: In "Raisins", after Bebe tells Stan that Wendy has broken up with him:
    Stan: Whoa, wait a minute. What did I do wrong? I haven't even talked to Wendy for weeks!
  • Total Drama Pakihtew Island: In "I Love You, I Love You Knot", when Chris is explaining the punishment of that day's challenge.
    Chris: If you fail a challenge, or tell a lie, your whole team gets a shock.
    Dave: Uhm, what do you mean by "Shock"? Also, what are these metal collars Chef's putting on us?
    Chris: You just answered your question. But let me make it even clearer.
    [pushes the remote that sends an electric shock through all players' collars]

    Real Life 
  • Anyone who's ever worked in a fast food restaurant is very familiar with this trope. "Does the double bacon cheeseburger have bacon?" "What's the difference between the 3-piece and 5-piece chicken nuggets?" Quite a few of these questions are catalogued on Not Always Right. In many cases, the customers in these stories are so oblivious they never realize they've fallen into this trope.
  • "What time is the 3 o'clock parade?" is apparently asked so often at Disney Theme Parks that they've made T-shirts with the question on them, being asked by Goofy.
  • The occasional physics quiz question:
    • Which weighs the most, a pound of lead, a pound of aluminum, or a pound of cork?note 
    • What is the rate of change of a constant? (Used in analyzing DC circuits with capacitors and inductors.)
  • What's the Number for 911? is actually the title of a collection of bizarre and/or stupid 911 calls.
  • "What time is midnight Mass?" is actually a subversion, as churches may hold the "midnight" service at an earlier time, such as 10 P.M. Still late at night, but not literally midnight.
  • Sometimes overlaps with Bilingual Bonus: "When is Cinco de Mayo?"


Video Example(s):



"Whoa, wait a minute. What did I do wrong? I haven't even talked to Wendy for weeks!"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouAnsweredYourOwnQuestion

Media sources: