When a character looks at the audience and comments on what is going on in the work they are in, but does not explicitly acknowledge there is an audience.
One of the mildest forms of Breaking the Fourth Wall; often seen in works where the Wall is otherwise quite solid and it would seem odd for the characters really to acknowledge it. It's not even impossible for an Aside Comment to preserve the Fourth Wall entirely intact if the character is interpreted as talking to themselves (see Thinking Out Loud) or an imaginary audience. Usually, the interpretation is left open unless there are other kinds of Breaking the Fourth Wall going on; it would be odd to say the least to comment on the matter if the Fourth Wall is solid, after all.
Sometimes used as a form of Exposition where the character thinks out loud about what they're doing so that the audience will know, too; this can be done without even looking at the Fourth Wall, however. At other times, just used to deliver a Punch Line and/or snarky comment.
In a non-visual medium, where the characters obviously can't look at the audience, seeming to address the audience without making it explicit may suffice for this. However, the speaker visibly not looking at the audience disqualifies a piece of dialogue from being an instance of the trope.
Closely related to the Aside Glance, just taking it a step further. Compare and contrast with Fourth Wall Psych, where the idea of Breaking the Fourth Wall by addressing the audience is presented and then disproved. See also Leaning on the Fourth Wall.
Anime and Manga
- Dragonball Z usually keeps its fourth wall unbroken, but late in the series Gohan abruptly looks at the camera and explains why Krillin suddenly has hair.
Live Action Television
- Parks and Recreation was created by veterans of the American version of The Office, and includes the same "talking head" segments that both the British and American versions of that show used. However, unlike both versions of The Office, there's never any reference to a documentary being filmed and the crew filming the talking heads never impacts the action. In practice the talking heads function very much like Aside Comments.
- The tv version of Lovejoy would have Lovejoy do this in a vaguely Shakespearean way, delivering either his internal snark, or a bit of trivia about the antique, as a way of showing how his thought processes worked.
- Zack in Saved by the Bell would sometimes do this.
- Many comic characters in Shakespeare and other theatrical works of that general era would do this. Often it's even written in the stage directions.
- Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude is famous for its frequent use of often lengthy asides. It inspired numerous parodies, of which Groucho Marx's in Animal Crackers is merely the most famous.
- Parodied in Moliere's play The Miser; the eponymous character's servant makes several aside comments to the audience, complaining about the guy's greed, but the miser hears this and asks him who he is talking to.
- Happens in The Phantom of the Opera during "Poor Fool He Makes Me Laugh". The husband explains to the wife that he is going on a trip and leaving her with the maid, and as an aside "Though I would happily take the maid with me".
- Herman Toothrot does this all the time in The Secret of Monkey Island. Guybrush eventually asks him who he's talking to, and Herman replies "The people watching at home, of course!"
- Done by Sonic in Sonic Colors when he learns his new alien pals are called "wisps".
Sonic: "I'll just stick with "aliens" if that's okay with everybody."
- Sluggy Freelance
- When Torg is being very slow on the uptake: "He'll figure it out any moment now folks!" (Unless you count "folks" as a direct acknowledgement of the fourth wall. It seems to refer to the audience, but it's left vague.)
- When Torg's trying to do some serious angst after the comic's first bout of Cerebus Syndrome: "There are some things in life more important than gags."
- One of the many popular gags in Looney Tunes. One of the better examples is in "Drip-Along Daffy" where Daffy Duck pulls this when confronting Nasty Canasta:
Daffy: "Nasty Canasta, eh? Well I'd like...*aside* I'd like? I'd like a trip to Europe...*back* I'd like to introduce myself!"
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- In the episode "Bridle Gossip", Spike seems to be looking at the audience directly when commenting that he can't come up with a pun from Twilight Sparkle's name.
- In "Sonic Rainboom", both Rainbow Dash and Rarity say out loud to no-one in particular what they're going to do next at some point, but only on one occasion each do they look at the audience while doing so, demonstrating the vague relationship such comments can have to Breaking the Fourth Wall.
- In "A Bird in the Hoof", Fluttershy gives an uncharacteristically cunning look to the audience and says "Always works!" during a Road Runner Shout-Out scene where she tries to feed a bird a pill by hiding it under some seeds.