Who Is Driving?

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Oh my God, Bear is driving! How can this be?!

Mickey: Hey, who's drivin'?
Donald: Yeah, who's driving?!

Goofy: (sitting at the table with them, eating popcorn) Why, I'm driving!
—The Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's Trailer

The characters are in a larger vehicle and the driver comes back to where the passengers are in order to have a conversation, leading to the obvious question of who is driving now. Once the you-know-what has been hung, the vehicle crashes. Can also happen if an animal (such as a bear) is revealed to be driving, or a person who Drives Like Crazy.

Examples of Who Is Driving? include:

Anime and Manga

  • Pokémon: This happens with a blimp at the beginning of the Orange Islands arc. Twice. With the same blimp.

Comic Books

  • In the European comic Timothée Titan, after the hero is transported to the alien starship, both crewmember gather around him and proceed to describe the situation. Only halfway through one of them realizes that nobody's at the helm, and the ship crashes down on a planet moments later.


  • Happens on The Muppet Movie when Fozzie helps Kermit try to find the route to Hollywood on a map. Kermit asks who's driving, and they nearly crash into the abandoned church where they meet the Electric Mayhem.
  • Happens in the second Cannonball Run movie. For some unknown reason, Mel Tillis has switched places with the chimp who was "driving" the limo. The chimp then gets into a fight with Tony Danza who eventually climbs up front with Tillis. Tillis invokes the trope and Danza points out that the chimp is. That's when they drive through the trailer home.
  • In the Three Stooges short "Oily to Bed, Oily to Rise," the boys somehow all end up in the back seat of a moving car, the driverless condition of which is only noticed as they approach a cliff, and Curly calmly and chirpily remarks, "Hmm...don't look now, but I think we're about to be killed!"
  • In Ice Age III: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, the Crazy Awesome Buck captures a pterosaur and proceeds to commandeer it like an aircraft, with the possums Crash and Eddie in tow, in order to rescue Sid - which leads right into this trope as all three of them check on Sid. Apparently the pterosaur can't be trusted to fly by itself.
  • In Resident Evil: Afterlife, Alice (the real one) manages to get the drop on Wesker as he taking off in a plane. Wesker stabs her with some kinda antidote that takes away her powers and proceeds to beat her up and gloat. However in his little moment. he seems to have forgotten that there are only two people on said plane: Alice and him...And he was driving. Cue him trying to rush back to the controls and the plane flying directly into a mountain.
  • In Astro Boy his friends catch him out of the air in a flying car. They all start asking if he's okay. Then he wonders who's driving. Cut to the robot dog at the steering wheel.
  • Variation: In It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett find themselves in a small plane with an unconscious pilot. As Buddy clings to the controls, Mickey gets ground control on the radio. They assess the situation and ask "Who's flying the plane?" Buddy gestures to himself; Mickey looks at him and calls back "Who's flying the plane?? Nobody's flying the plane!!!"

Live Action TV

  • Get Smart Baddie of the Week Leadside asked this question of his Evil Minions when they were tooling about in his secret lair (which was a truck). No crash though.
    • Happens at the end of another episode when Maxwell knocks out the pilots of a plane (who happen to be chaos agents). He calmly informs the passengers that there is nothing to fear and that they will arrive in Miami shortly. Then he asks if any of them know how to fly a plane.
  • Happened once on Firefly, with Wash hanging out with the rest of Serenity's crew until the ship's proximity alarm goes off:

Wash: Oh god, oh god, we're all going to die! Who's flying this thing?! ..oh, right. That would be me.

    • Of course, it's not as though they're going to run into something in outer space.
  • Happens in the Scrubs episode "My Road to Nowhere" when several characters go on a road trip:

JD: Ted, who's driving?
Ted: Oh, my bad.
Elliot: Maybe I should drive so we don't all die. No offence, Ted.
Ted: (Taking both hands off the wheel and turning completely to face her) None taken.



  • The Search For Psalty's Missing 9: Psalty and the kids are on a plane, trying to find Risky Rat, and Charity Churchmouse tells them she's pinpointed the rat's exact location. After hearing where he is, Psalty realizes that Charity was the one flying the plane. But Charity assures him it's all right, since Blooper, Psalty's pet dog, took over.

Psalty: My dog is flying the plane?!
Charity: I'm a mouse, what's the difference?


Video Games

  • In King's Quest III, if you use the sleep spell in the pirate ship too early (Before land is sighted), Gwydion will realize that he just put the only people capable of navigating to sleep, resulting in the ship wandering aimlessly across the ocean and a game over.

Western Animation

  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Occurs many times on the bus. Yumi hangs it in "Number Please".
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy "Fear and Loathing in Endsville" were Grim, Dracula are in the back of truck with the truck driver while the truck is in motion. Grim hangs it.
  • The trope namer is one of the animated episodes of Clerks that involved an anime-inspired sequence with this famous statement by the overenthusiastic narrator: "Who is driving?!...Oh my God! Bear is driving! How can this be?!"
  • In the Treehouse of Horror segment "Nightmare at 5 1/2 Feet", Otto is seen with the students at one point. Once Milhouse points this out, he immediately rushes back to the wheel.
    • It's not the only time Otto has done this. "Who's driving the bus?" "What bus?"
  • The Classic Disney Short Mickey's Trailer (1938) had a scene where Goofy, who was driving, stepped back into the trailer to have lunch with his pals. All sorts of near-misses and almost-crashes occurred.
  • Johnny Bravo Christmas Special had Johnny, Little Suzy, Donny Osmond, and a pilot flying on a plane to the North Pole. At one point, the characters begin to break into song including the pilot, at which point Johnny asks "Who's flying the plane?" To which the pilot answers "Duh! I am!", while he is most obviously not. The plane drops out of the sky like a rock.
  • Has occurred more than once on Totally Spies!.

Sam: Uh, girls? Since we knocked the pilot unconscious, who is flying this plane now?

  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: Sandman is driving an armored truck, Spidey jumps in the cab and the two fight. Sandman asks; "Gee Webhead, if I'm over here... Who's driving?" No one is, and the truck plows right into a gate.
  • Happens when Chef decides to join Chris in the main body of the plane during Total Drama World Tour.
  • On an episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, thanks to some less than brillant moves of the cast, Jimmy is left trying to fly a plane. It takes Lucius a few seconds of conversing with him in the passenger section before realizing that no one is flying the plane.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: "Slips, if you're here, then who's flying the plane?" Cue the inevitable crash.
  • All over the place at the end of the Wacky Races episode "Speeding For Smogland." A chain reaction crash causes Luke and Blubber, Red Max, Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth, the Gruesome Twosome, and Dick Dastardly and Muttley to be jettisoned from their cars into each other's cars. Dastardly is in the lead in the Arkansas Chuggabug, but the announcer informs him that he'll be disqualified for not being in the correct car. He stops and another chain reaction crash sends everyone back into their correct cars.
    • Muttley has been seen driving the Mean Machine whenever Dastardly is otherwise pre-occupied.
    • In "Race Rally To Raleigh," Sgt. Blast winds up in Penelope Pitstop's car, the Compact Pussycat.
  • Happens to a speedboat in Almost Naked Animals in the episode where Howie runs into his Imaginary Friend.
  • In the first episode Kids Next Door, Sector V hijacks a ice cream truck to grill info on the driver (ice cream men work for the big bad, you see). They soon come across a blockade and Numbah 4 goes to Numbuh 1, who are on top of the truck, to tell him this

Numbuh 1: Tell Numbuh 4 to turn the truck around
Numbuh 4: But I am Numbuh 4
Numbuh 1: Then whose driving?! (CRASH)

  • In one episode of The Critic, Jay's parents, Franklin and Eleanor, are on vacation and flying on their private plane. Franklin goes to check on the pilot and discovers its a penguin..whose been drinking.

Franklin: Wait a minute, penguins can't fly! PENGUINS CAN'T FLY! (The plane drops like a rook)

  • One episode of Thomas the Tank Engine had Thomas realize that he's moving all by himself without a driver and crashing into a house at the end of the track he's on.
  • Scooby-Doo handles the Mystery Machine in the made-for-video movie Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare. He also drives a forklift and destroys the Fright Hound in episode 10 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
  • Danger Mouse leaves Penfold in the Mk. III driverless for a spell while he battles Count Duckula in "The Great Bone Idol." Later in "Beware Of Mexicans Delivering Milk," he has his Mk. III on autopilot after his strength is sapped drinking spiked milk (he's so weak he says "If I'd had the strength, I'd blow my nose").
    • "What A Three-Point Turn-Up For The Book" is even more bizarre. The Mk. III takes off without our heroes and assumes mischievous and even sinister traits. When DM finally corrals it, he finds the wirings of a washing machine installed.

Real Life

  • There is an Urban Legend / Darwin Awards / Stella Award about various people who have gotten out of the driver's seat on an RV thinking that the Cruise Control was a form of autopilot.
  • Similarly, there is a joke about a bus driver crashing his vehicle, and explaining to the inspector that he can't say what happened because at the time he was upstairs collecting passengers' fares.[1]
  1. If you don't get it, we're talking about the double-decker buses seen in the U.K.