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

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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?
[beat]
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!.


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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

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

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes There's an episode where Little M. asks what the number for 911 is.

    Comedy 
  • 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: "Amazon.ca... What's the website for that?" Wallace still has to answer it for him.
    Wallace: ...Amazon.ca.
    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?"

    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.

    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! 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. Armanick 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 waitching 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 relation 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.
  • 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 licence 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.

    Magazines 
  • in the MAD parody of the first Superman 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!"

    Music 
  • 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.

    Radio 
  • 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 colour, grey, unless they're albino.

    Toys 
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • Webcomic/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.
    Rick: WHY'RE YOU STILL SAYING IT THAT WAY? YOU KNOW IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!
    [beat]
    Rick: I JUST ANSWERED MY OWN QUESTION!
    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"
  • 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: As Sydney is watching Math and Jabberwokky getting into a showy martial art fight with obvious glee.
    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 made some jokes about Wicca on his web comic. When Branwen, an African American friend of Davan, tries to explain to a self-identified "10th generation Wiccan" that Davan's jokes about weren'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.
    [beat]
    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.
  • Ur in 8-Bit Theater, after being killed.
    Ur: What the hell is this?
    Kary: You answered your own question, pal.
  • The page image from xkcd: "Crap! How did the pole-vaulters get up to our balcony?"

    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • Dragonball 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]
    • 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]
  • 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 and 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.
  • 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!

    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'd 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 aluminium, or a pound of cork?note 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.

 
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Raisins

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

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