Take That, Audience!

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"Hey, that's neat, I paid money for this game and it insults me."


—John Stewart, The Daily Show

Aiming a jab at the audience, usually for being such a loser that they'll waste their time watching/reading/playing this nonsense, or so dumb they'll pay good money for it. In videogames, this extends to mocking the player's lack of skill.

Not to be confused with This Loser Is You. May overlap with You Bastard. Usually tied up with Self-Deprecation, possibly saying that the creator is a talentless hack who got lucky or is just in it to squeeze money out of the fans, but they're too dumb to realise it. Compare with Biting the Hand Humor, where the show mocks their paymasters, such as the network or publishers.

Sometimes combined with Artist Disillusionment.

Examples of Take That, Audience! include:


Anime and Manga

  • Axis Powers Hetalia features personified nations. It pokes fun at each nation and its people. So, if you live in a country represented by a Hetalia character, it has insulted you. Fans don't seem to mind.
    • In one episode of the English dub, the narrator makes fun of the American fans watching, "assuming" that they don't know where Poland is, or that anime fans know nothing about WWII.
  • Some fans believe that End of Evangelion was this to the series' Unpleasable Fanbase after their reactions to the way the series ended. Given the fact that they involved death threats, some of us would probably have the same reaction.
  • In the KC Grand Prix arc of Yu-Gi-Oh! , Vivian was a Loony Fan of Yugi turned Stalker Without a Crush intent on making him her "love slave" - something of a cliche in fanfiction that results in the target of the affection falling for the stalker. Many fans believe she was an attempt to show fans how someone would actually react to such a stalker, as Yugi clearly did not reciprocate that sort of affection and had to beat some sense into her to get her to back off.

Comic Books

Fan Works

  • The Pony Psychology Series has an entire chapter where Celestia gives Luna a lecture (in rather horrid and scientifically accurate detail) about the environmental disaster that Nightmare Moon's plan might have caused had it succeeded; more than likely, this was done to scold fans who portrayed Nightmare Moon as some misunderstood visionary.


  • The Simpsons Movie: "I can't believe we're paying to see something we get on T.V. for free! If you ask me, everyone in this audience is a giant sucker! Especially you!"
  • The horror satire/social commentary film Funny Games is intended as a giant Take That at the concept of viewers enjoying watching non-real people suffer and die for their own amusement. It carries itself as a psych-horror film, but it breaks the fourth wall several times to ensure that the viewer feels guilty for enjoying the film as a horror film. There's even an in-character debate about whether or not fiction and real life are the same thing.
  • Wanted leaves you with this message as its ending.

Wesley: What the fuck have you done lately?

Fan: What was the car in the scene supposed to be symbolic of?
Woody: It was symbolic of a car.

Live-Action TV

  • This jokey example from Red Dwarf: In the episode "Backwards," in the scene where the cast are fired from the pub in Retsehcnam, the manager is actually addressing "the one prat in the country who has bothered to get a hold of this recording, turn it round and actually work out the rubbish that I'm saying. What a poor sad life he's got!"[1]
  • Have I Got News for You, especially the earlier series. A tie-in book even claimed the 'typical' HIGNFY fan was a Serial Killer.
  • The video games episode of Screenwipe concludes:

Charlie Brooker: "Yes, videogames are going through a renaissance, and you should not miss out - like you are now, by choosing to watch TV instead like some kind of medieval throwback farmhand fuck."

"What are you reading this for your obsessional deviant DVD bandit sodsplit."

    • A similar thing happened on the fourth episode of the first series of Newswipe. Charlie Brooker was talking about the G20 summit and a long list of the economies part of the G20 scrolled down the screen. However one of the entries was:

"Bottom Land. No,not really. We made that one up. And you bothered to pause this to read the phrase "Bottom Land". What a dismal little prick you are."

William Shatner: "I mean, for crying out loud it- it's just a TV Show!"

Donna: When I'm with you... I can't tell what's right and what's not anymore.
10th Doctor: It's probably best that way....

    • A more direct one happens during "The Almost People." There is a small but loud group of Who fans who dislike Matt Smith because of no other reason than he's not David Tennant. That had to have had something to do with this scene, when a clone of Eleven is having his skull runneth over coping with his past regenerations:

The Doctor: (David Tennant's Voice) Hello, I'm the Doctor. (Matt Smith's Voice) No! Let it go! We've moved on!

  • Tim Kring's infamous "saps and dipshits" comment, in which he insulted any viewer of the show who used DVR.
  • One episode of Law and Order SVU, via a Soapbox Sadie on the witness stand, all but called the audience Complete Monsters (she's addressing the court gallery, but it's clear who the message was really intended for). For what, you may ask? Owning computers. Granted, it was an anvil that probably needed to be dropped (relating to the Congo War and how metals used in computers might finance African Terrorists), but how very accusatory it is is mind-blowing.
  • The Monkees' TV special, "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee" did this in the "Wind-Up Man" number.
    • I'm a wind up man / Programmed to be entertaining / Turn me on / And I will sing a song about a Wind-up world / Of people watching television / Wind up man / Can you hear me laughing at you?
  • The third season of Slings and Arrows takes this a bit too far, especially towards sci-fi fans such as myself. I still love Slings and Arrows, but I couldn't help be a bit offended.



  • The band in Bugger Off composed by Tony Miles thanks the audience for showing up, and rudely tells them to leave (calling them bastards and comparing them to swine).
  • Blues Traveler's single "The Hook" is basically about how the lead singer could sing anything as long as the audience thinks it sounds good.
  • The Nirvana song "In Bloom" is squarely - or at least as squarely as anything the typically cryptic and abstract Cobain ever wrote - aimed at that sections of Nirvana's audience who just liked the tunes and didn't much care for or were even aware of the underlying message. In the unused liner notes for In Utero, Cobain was brutally direct:

If any of you hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us — leave us alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records!

  • Inverted in Molly and the Tinker's "The Anti-Singalong Song", in which the performers get the audience to sing about how they won't sing along, because the singers are just being lazy and not doing their jobs.
    • Fridge Brilliance also plays it straight, as the lyrics profess that folksingers assume audiences are spineless patsies who can be conned into doing their work for them. And, hey, the audience is singing along, even if it's about how they don't want to...
  • The Fall's "How I Wrote Elastic Man", about a singer who complains that whatever he does, everything everyone ever wants to know is how he wrote that one song... and they don't even get the title right.

And they will ask me
How I wrote "Plastic Man"
How I wrote "Plastic Man"

  • Showbread's song "Shepherd, No Sheep" from their 2009 album "The Fear Of God" is a whole song consisting of this trope coupled with Misaimed Fandom and Artist Disillusionment, talking to their old fans who latched onto their first album "No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical" because it was a high-energy, distorted rock album with screamed vocals released at a time when Screamo and Metalcore were steadily gaining popularity.
  • Frank Zappa: "This here song might offend you some. If it does it's because you're dumb."
  • Mindless Self Indulgence frequently takes jabs at their audience, both through their lyrics and hurling between songs during their live shows.
    • Their third album has a song called 'You'll Rebel To Anything (As Long as It's Not Challenging)' which seems to be dedicated to insulting their fans. As the chorus says:

You're telling me that fifty million screaming fans are never wrong,
I'm telling you that fifty million screaming fans are fucking morons

    • The same album has another song titled "Stupid MF." It pokes fun at the audience for being unable to understand Jimmy Urine's fast-paced singing.

"Is it simple enough for you? Can everybody understand me? You all still following me?"
"Should I talk slower like you're a retard? Should I talk slower like you're retarded?"

    • The live segment at the beginning of "Backmask," where Jimmy talks to the audience:

Jimmy: "You guys, man, you gotta get organized. Come on! When I say we, you say suck! We!"
Audience: "Suck!"
Jimmy: "We!"
Audience: "Suck!"
Jimmy: "DICK!"

All you know about me is what I've sold you, dumbfuck
I sold out long before you ever even heard my name
I sold my soul to make a record, dipshit
Then you bought one.

Professional Wrestling

  • Brian Pillman's infamous "smart mark" promo in the ECW Arena is one enormous middle finger to the much more inside ECW fans. He even compared them to the much maligned Eric Bischoff to prove his point.



  • Aristophanes's plays were written to be performed only once, in front of an audience he knew personally, so he did this a lot, (making this trope Older Than Feudalism):
    • The Clouds: During an argument between the personified Stronger Argument and Weaker Argument, Weaker tells Stronger to look out at the audience and tell her what he sees. Following her advice, he exclaims "By the gods, they're all gay!" (Various translations render this anything from "faggots" and "assholes" to "blackguards" but the meaning is pretty clear from his very next exclamation that "Every one of them is one of those spreaders of their butt cheeks!")
    • The Frogs: "Wait, if we're in Hell, shouldn't there be a lot of sinners around?" "Sure, check out the audience."
  • In Hamlet (written of course by the English William Shakespeare and performed for English audiences, but set in Denmark), the graveyard scene has this exchange:

Hamlet: Ay, marry, why was [Hamlet] sent into England?
First Gravedigger: Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, it's no great matter there.
Hamlet: Why?
First Clown: 'Twill, a not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.

Video Games

  • Do really badly in Fire Emblem (a.k.a. Rekka no Ken) and the ending will note about the player "To this day, historians look back and question how these incomprehensible strategies ever led to victory."
    • If the player loses enough units in Shadow Dragon to be unable to meet the maximum number of units deployable for a chapter, they will receive filler units named after numbers. Lose them, and (in the US translation) you receive more... with names like Owend, Lucer, and Auffle (Owned, Loser, and Awful).
  • In GoldenEye Source extended camping will "earn" a player the Octopussy achievement. The Quantum of Solace game did the same thing for players who finished the game on the easy difficulty.
  • In Blaze Union, one battlefield depicts a gaggle of delinquents first trying to score with the female party members, then actually attacking and trying to rape them when that fails. Said delinquents are given the same kind of musical cues and attention that the player characters do—and they're portrayed as laughably ineffectual scum of the earth that will most likely die virgins even if their attacks on women don't get them killed. This appears to be a stab at the Vocal Minority of depraved otaku in the Japanese fandom, especially as Japanese society is starting to frown on the extremist Basement Dweller corner of shut-ins lately. Unfortunately, this backfired; said Vocal Minority absolutely loved the attention.
  • In The Lost Vikings, the eponymous vikings routinely Lean On The Fourth Wall. Fail often enough and they'll comment on it. If you have to restart fifteen times, Thor will tell them they're doing very badly and they need to shape up.
    • One of the games will say you really suck if you die on the first level. As you have to intentionally work at it to die, this is clearly an Easter Egg.
  • The Dude will insult you for Save Scumming in Postal 2.
    • "Didn't you just save?"
    • "My grandmother could beat the game if she saved as much as you do."
    • "Are you saving AGAIN?"
    • He also gets on your case if you cheat, with phrases like "If you say so." and "Wussy!"
  • N's dialogue in Pokémon Black and White against the trainers who only use Pokémon as tools and only care about competing seems to be a jab against the "Stop Having Fun!" Guys part of the fandom.
  • In Tokimeki Memorial 2 Substories: Dancing Summer Vacation, at around the middle of the game, if you decide to train at Dance Dance Revolution before paying a visit to your DDR tournament partner Miyuki, she'll phone you between two training sessions, and, all while being happy to see how serious you are at training, she'll say the following (and will fail to notice afterwards why the protagonist, aka you, feels awkward after that!):

Miyuki: But~ Miyuki is so happy to hear this! After all, with such a beautiful day like this, young people shouldn't shut themselves in their room the whole day playing video games~!

  • The Free Space 2 level editor will call you a moron if you try to confuse its ship naming system.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots dedicates most of its plot and themes to telling you how much it hates you. Kojima did not want to make another, and he makes you feel it. Snake is miserable, cynical, and unable to justify why he's still fighting. Raiden comes back, exactly as the fans wanted him to be, except all his development has been undone and he's also miserable, cynical and unable to justify why he's still fighting. In a broader sense, compare Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in which Snake tries to convince Raiden that he should take the best of what he knows and pass it onto the next generation with Metal Gear Solid 4, in which the characters are too selfish, self-absorbed, or otherwise flawed to properly understand what The Boss was trying to teach them, and ends with Big Boss sadly concluding that "Maybe the world would better without snakes".
    • Or how about from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty during the "Colonel"'s malfunction, "Honestly, though, you have played the game for a long time. Don't you have anything else to do with your time?"
  • A subtle one is in the Infocom game Suspect where the behavior NPC detective is implied to be a recreation of how most players acted when assuming the detective role in the earlier Witness... which is to say, not very competent at all.
  • An NPC in The Elder Scrolls (Morrowind to Skyrim) named "M'aiq the Liar" basically tells the series' massive Unpleasable Fanbase to can it. But as of Skyrim, he even makes a couple Take That Us comments too.
  • Sonic 1 Remastered, a ROM Hack of Sonic the Hedgehog, changes the text on the normal "No Chaos Emeralds" screen from "SPECIAL STAGE" to "YOU SUCK AT SPECIAL STAGES".
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Episode 8's climax is one massive Take That towards the audience, as the creator had gotten tired of the fans demanding 'the true solution' to everything instead of trying to work it out themselves. The main characters are Zerg Rushed by massive, stupid-theory-sprouting Butler-Goats that ate away at the mystery and demanded answers. Subtle.
  • When the first trailers and screenshots of Diablo III were released, there was a lot of backdraft over the game not being "dark enough", to the point everyone thought the game was going to be a Lighter and Softer cash-in. Blizzard's response? Whimsyshire, the game's new cow level, which has you fighting your way through a Tastes Like Diabetes landscape of rainbows, smiling clouds, dancing flowers, and unicorns.
  • In the the 2020 relaunch of Battletoads, the Dark Queen has traded her sexy Dominatrix outfit from the original game for more modest (maybe more "cartoonish") Evil Sorceress robes. After her old associate Jeff criticizes the change, she something to say to him about it (and by association, to fans who complained about the change) doing so as she dangles him from their spaceship’s airlock:

Dark Queen: I guess we’ve changed Jeff, I’ve grown more impatient and you want to control what I’m wearing. Like you’re entitled to it because we hung out twenty years ago.


  • The Eight Bit Theater strip Unwisely Pissing Off The Fanbase claims to do this but is actually more Self-Deprecation. Many feel the strip's vast overreliance on Anticlimax is one of these as well.
    • Brian Clevinger has repeatedly stated that the best jokes are the ones played on the reader.

Web Animation

Web Original

Yahtzee: A Nerd, after all, is someone who obsesses over something, like the cultural impact of gaming, or people who criticise same in silly internet videos."

    • Also, seeing the face of the viewer is apparently enough to make an imp's head explode.
  • Andrew Hussie, creator of Homestuck, does this all the time to the Fan Dumb if something is misinterpreted or some logical leap not made.

GA: Sorry I Thought That Was Obvious.

  • Spoony gets one in during his LP of Terror TRAX: Track of the Vampire:

Graves: I get it. She was scamming losers who can't get real dates.
Spoony: Same kind of losers who watch let's plays instead of meeting girls.

"Yo, these people are a bunch of freaks"
—Rainbowdash 5000

Western Animation

The Big Brain: "Detecting trace amounts of mental activity, possibly a dead weasel or a cartoon viewer."

Gender-Swapped Leela: Thank god most of our fans are huge perverts!

"You really are pretty lame compared to the Beak!"

    • There's also Irving, a nerdy outcast sort of character whose obsession with the titular duo is taken by some fans as a playful dig at the fandom.
  • The Simpsons episode "Bye, Bye Nerdie," in which Lisa discovers that bullies detect nerds via their scent, ends with the bully Francine sniffing straight ahead of her and leaping at the audience.
    • In the later seasons of the show—starting around season 8's "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show," an extended riff on this theme—nearly any appearance of Comic Book Guy heralds one of these.
  • In South Park, when Stan and Kyle finally reach their goal in scoring 1,000,000 points on Guitar Hero, instead of saying something along the lines of "You're a rock star!" the game mocks them and says they're fags for playing the game so much.
  • During the episode of the Boondocks where Grandpa fights an old blind man, the show stops before the killing blow and Huey muses to the audience that they could be reading a book right now. The screen stays still a few more seconds, like the show is telling you to do something better with your time then watch two old men beat each other.
  • ReBoot: When Enzo and Dot are in a zombie shooter game, they discuss the brutality of it.

Enzo: In the next level, the zombies have flesh!
Dot: What kind of sick creature gets enjoyment out of playing this sort of game? *both glare at the camera*

Don't you have anything better to do than browsing All The Tropes?

  1. Keep in mind that back then, reversing a recording was really hard.
  2. The police officer's brain was then replaced with a squid brain by Zim.