No Fame, No Wealth, No Service

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Dana Carvey: And where have I seen you from?
Victoria Jackson: Saturday Night Live!
Dana Carvey: Old cast or new?
Victoria Jackson: New!
Dana Carvey: Wait at the bar! Wait at the bar!

Should I describe No Fame, No Wealth, No Service here? I don't think you're famous enough to be worth my time.

Oh, you're that troper! I'm sorry. I didn't recognize you. Let me get you our house wine while we tell you what this trope is about.

Some places will not serve people who are not celebrities or of high social status, and at least in fiction are often quite rude about it. Otherwise Truth in Television.

May overlap with Recognition Failure.

Compare Dude, Where's My Respect?

Examples of No Fame, No Wealth, No Service include:


  • In a Capital One commercial, a group of Vikings takes a vacation to Hollywood (Thanks to Capital One, of course). One short scene shows one Viking's goat being allowed into a club, only for the Viking to follow and be blocked by the bouncer.


  • In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts's Hooker with a Heart of Gold goes into a store on Rodeo Drive and gets treated badly by clerks, even though she has plenty of money. Later, after being served in a different store because of the intervention of a kind concierge, she returns to the first dressed to the nines and asks if they get commission (extra pay depending what they sell personally). They do, so shes gets to give them a short What an Idiot! talk.
  • Inverted in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: it's left as a mystery for half the movie why Norah seems to know every bouncer in New York, who just let this High School girl in at the front of the line. Turns out her dad's a record producer.
  • In Selena, while looking for an outfit for the Grammy award, the singer was being brushed off by a fancy dress-store's clerks on the account of them being casually dressed Mexicans. Then one fan recognized her, and their attitudes quickly changed.
    • Which prompted a very polite yet awesome response from Selena, in the midst of a crowd of fans:

Selena (to store clerk): Excuse me, Miss? We don't need the dress.

"You're letting that guy in? That guy's a nerd!"

  • In Lawrence of Arabia, when Lawrence walks into the Officers Club at Cairo the staff insists his Arab valet could not come in (Truth in Television as a lot of British clubs did not allow natives as late as World War II). Lawrence thereupon says that he captured Aquba and if he wants his servant in the club his servant is going to be in the club.


  • In Airborn, the restaurant Matt meets Kate at in Skybreaker barely let him in because his secondhand Academy uniform; he was about to be escorted out until Chef Vlad intervened.
  • In Extras, the world's economy is based off fame/popularity, with a rating given to every person in the city. You receive better clothes, food, and invitations to parties the higher your rating is.
  • In one of the Honor Harrington books a waiter at a posh restaurant grudgingly serves a group of junior navy officers and their friends and probably would not have seated them at all if it had been a busier time of the day. He does not realize that they are heirs to some of the wealthiest people in the region and one of them is actually in direct line to the Manticorean throne.

Live-Action TV

  • Saturday Night Live: a rather meta sketch found a few funny ways to play with it, with the cast of the show itself trying to trade on their fame and finding that "New Cast" didn't rate next to "Old Cast".

"Look! It's Rob Lowe (in his "Brat Pack" days)! Wait at the bar! Wait at the bar!"

    • Several skits had a bar that you could only get into if you had hosted SNL enough times. Originally, it was the Five Timer's club (people who have hosted the show five or more times), and it involved Tom Hanks being inducted into the club. Other members involved Steve Martin, Elliot Gould, and Paul Simon. Ralph Nader tries to crash it, and Jon Lovitz is serving drinks. Also features Conan O'Brien in a bit part as the doorman. The club was referenced again during the fifth appearance of Danny DeVito, John Goodman, Drew Barrymore, and Alec Baldwin. The Martin vs. Baldwin sketch was an extension of this, taking place in the club's "Platinum Lounge" that was only open to Twelve Timers (where drinks are served by Martin Short).
  • Fawlty Towers: Basil Fawlty lived by this trope. He either showed fawning obsequiousness for anybody with money, a title, or a sufficiently fancy car, or contempt for everyone else, especially his hotel's residents, out-of-town work crews staying at Fawlty Towers on business, foreigners, and families with kids.
  • One episode of Extras deals with Andy's attempts to get into the VIP area of a club. Andy finally breaks out as a C-list celebrity and gets shown to the VIP area of a club, which he rubs in to his arch rival who happens to be there. After sitting there for about a minute, he is unceremoniously booted out when David Bowie shows up, and when Bowie leaves the new bouncer doesn't recognise Andy.
  • Happened in Arrested Development to Lucille and Lindsay. After being refused entrance to the trendiest bar/nightclub in town, they retreat to Denny's Klimpy's where a smiling hostess greets them with "Sit anywhere you like!" Lucille is appalled at finding herself in such a non-selective restaurant...
  • In Just Shoot Me, Dennis goes to a club with his new wife Adrienne, a well-known fashion model. The bouncer lets her in, but shuts Dennis out, not believing his claims of being married.
  • The Pretty Woman example is spoofed on The Office. Dwight is denied service at a store for his appearance, so Andy and Kelly give him a makeover with the purpose of going back and humiliate the attendants who rejected him. Only when they get there, they find that the reason Dwight was not let in was that he appeared to have blood on his hands (it was actually beet juice).
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode "Robots vs. Wrestlers", the gang tries to gatecrash an extremely selective high-society party by having Lily pretend to be one of the people on the guest list (long story), only to have said guest turn up and cockblock her. Ted eventually has to flirt with the guest until she invites them along, only for everyone to realize the party is snooty and dull (Marshall declares it "Douchepocalypse 2010") but being unwilling to leave after putting so much effort into getting in. Eventually, they ditch it for a Robots vs. Wrestlers fight in a dingy, sleazy hole in downtown New York.

Video Games

  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: Even Mario and Luigi themselves can't get into two high-class shops in the Mushroom Mall until they've proved that they're the right sort of clientele. This requires reaching certain Character Levels, so from a mechanical point of view it prevents thrifty players from buying top-tier gear at low levels. From an in-universe point of view, it makes one wonder who the hell their other clients are, given that most inhabitants of the kingdom recognize Mario on sight.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, getting through the main gate to The Strip (where all the casinos are) usually require a credit check - you need to have at least 2,000 caps for them to consider you to have any business there. The justification is that Mr. House wants potential customers in the Strip rather than just freeloaders. Of course you can get an ID (or a forgery) in Freeside. That or hack the robots.
  • In the Genesis version of Shadowrun, many bars have door charges that they will waive if you have an appropriate Reputation stat. The Club Penumbra goes further: you can only get in at all with a door charge and the proper rep. Subverted by Icarus Descending; it's a bar run by racist elves, and you can get in with a high enough Rep, but if you go there before you're supposed to, there's nothing there, and when the plot points you to the Johnson there, you can get in by invitation instead.
  • The whole point of reputation rewards in World of Warcraft. You will need to reach a specific fame level with a specific faction in order to buy some of their items, some of which will require you to be exalted among their ranks before they will consider selling it to you. Should your reputation fall beneath the required level for some reason (such as becoming accepted by their opposing faction) you will not be able to use the item anymore.
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 2, Larry (who's recently won the lottery) goes to a fancy restaurant at one point. The waiter proceeds to make him wait, seating five upper-class couples before pulling out a folding table and seating him there. And there's a pin in his food, which will cause his death if not removed.

Web Original

  • Grazia's in Grandmaster of Theft is a restaurant which only serves the rich or famous. Cassidy offers a free dinner here as bait for Narcissa, to setup negotiations and advance plan.

Western Animation

  • Futurama, "That's Lobstertainment": Fry and Leela, having just escaped the La Brea tar pits, are at first refused entrance to a fancy restaurant. Then the doorman sees the Neanderthal skeleton hanging from Fry's ankle and says, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were with Mr. Stallone."
  • In ReBoot, Cecil, being a French Jerk, sees available seats for Bob and Enzo, but doesn't place the pair in them.

Cecil: Wait at the bar. Wait at the bar.

  • On American Dad, Stan and Francine went to a restaurant and the French Jerk concierge appeared uninterested in serving them until Stan mentioned he was in the CIA. Subverted in that the concierge apparently doesn't hold the CIA in high regard and instead of a table they're led to an alley outside the restaurant where a vagrant pees on their feet.

Real Life

  • This has happened a lot with Studio 54:
    • David Lee Roth tells stories of coming off Van Halen's wildly successful first tour and not being able to get into Studio 54.
    • Nile Rogers wrote the song Le Freak in response to being shut out of Studio 54. The original chorus of the song ("aaaaaaaaw fuck off!"; replaced in the version that got released by "aaaaaaaw freak out!") was a direct stab at Steve Rubell, owner of Studio 54.
    • Steve Rubell purposely cultivated this policy, allowing only certain Celebs in (or any girl willing to humiliate herself for the honor) to make Studio 54 look like the most happening place to be.
  • Stephen Fry's second volume of autobiography mentions an incident in a New York restaurant where a waiter was extremely rude and dismissive towards him until he mentioned the name of the person he was dining with (a major Broadway producer) at which point the waiter can't do enough for him.
  • Urban Legend has it that a shabbily-dressed man walked into a bank for parking validation, only to be turned down and condescended to by the teller. He then proceeded to close his accounts with the bank and take the money—which amounted to over a million dollars—to a competitor. The legend is based on John Barrier, a man who made his millions off of home remodeling, who did the deed in 1998, shifting his money from an institution he'd banked with for 30 years to a competitor (entities that would become part of US Bank and Bank of America, respectively.)