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File:ChirpingCrickets 2985.png

Given that it's indoors, that is some very determined tumbleweed.


"When I get my hands on that cricket, it's snack time!"

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

A character says or does something intended to elicit an enthusiastic response from a group watching him, such as the audience in a theatre or a band of comrades. But instead of the reaction he expects, he hears nothing but the sound of crickets chirping, suggesting that not only is nobody responding, there's nobody there to respond.

Occasionally visually accompanied by tumbleweed blowing past, in which case the crickets can sometimes be replaced by blowing wind, or a wolf howling in the distance, with perhaps a distant bonging church bell. Alternatively, someone might throw a tomato at him.

In anime this trope may be represented not by insects but by birds flying by (such as the Idiot Crows). Of course, birds can also have other symbolic meanings so don't be too quick to apply this to every appearance. More often than not, it's coupled with a Sweat Drop.

Compare Loudspeaker Truck. Contrast Dramatic Wind for a completely different use of a tumbleweed blowing by.

Examples of Chirping Crickets include:


Anime and Manga

  • Sanji's reaction to Bon Clay's Clone-Clone Montage in One Piece #34. Yet he is completely unfazed about fighting a drag queen.
  • An example of the flying birds variation can be seen in Sailor Moon episode 54 (Japanese numbering) when Rei tells Usagi and Ami that she's written all the music for the festival herself.

Fan Works

  • Episode six of A Day in the Life of a Commissar, a Dawn of War Machinima.

Pirate-accented Guardsman: I gave you my 'Appendox'
Private Partz: I gave you an STD!

  • All silent; crickets sing*
  • Laspistol discharges, body falls*

Vegeta: Looks like he's been...dis-armed!

  • Gust of wind*

Nappa: I get it!


Phoenix: A storm cloud!? You call that decisive!? How could you place blame on my client for that!? Unless you are honestly suggesting Rainbow Dash can move around clouds and make them shoot lightning at will!

  • Complete silence, chirping crickets*

Phoenix: (Why is everyone staring at me like that?)



In fact, I backed off and tip off the others, resulting in an unusual sound of silence, even the crickets were quiet once we opened the door.



  • Lampshaded in Disney's Pocahontas, where Grandmother Willow shouts for the clamoring animals to be quiet, and silence descends, leaving behind the sound of a frog croaking. Grandmother Willow locates the noisy frog and gives him a Death Glare, whereupon he shuts up too.
    • Disney (or Pixar, rather, in this case) seems to be rather fond of lampshading this trope, since at the beginning of Cars, a speech by Lightning McQueen is greeted only with a shout of "Free Bird!"

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Doomed" (Season 4, Episode 11): Xander's and Willow's helpless silent protestation to Spike's sudden unexpected outburst of enthusiasm (after he realized that the implanted behavioral modification chip didn't punish him for killing demons) for "fighting the good fight". That, and after a long exhausting day of monster-slaying, Spike was blocking their view of the TV box.

Spike: "What's this? Sittin' around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What? Can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her. She is the chosen one, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them, for justice, and for... the safety of puppies... and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! [Credits start running] Oh, come on!"

    • Another brief example occurs in the episode "Once More, with Feeling", with the gang's reaction to Anya's theory that bunnies are causing the problem-of-the-week.
      • With actual cricket sounds to boot. Indoors.
      • The episode revolved around people singing and dancing to music coming out of the air. I think we can give the crickets a pass.
  • In an episode of Greg the Bunny, a guy tells a really stupid joke. Cue crickets. This was immediately followed by the entire audience directing their attention to said cricket, at which point the cricket proclaims that he found it funny.
  • This happened whenever Vic tried to tell a joke in Shooting Stars, with every stock sound effect coming into play.
  • An episode of X-Play used the sound effect to point out the scarce population of an online game. Oh, and apparently the crickets didn't want to play either.

Cricket #3: You suck, Sessler.

  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor saves the Earth yet again and says, "Who da man?", which is promptly followed by a beat of silence from his companions Amy and Rory, which leads to the Doctor saying, "I'm never saying that again."
  • Attack of the Show! has recently been hosted by Chris Hardwick while Kevin Pereira is off to cover the Consumer Electronics Association trade show. Any time Hardwick tries to be funny in this role (which is near-constantly), one has to feel embarrassed due to the cringe-inducing, near-complete lack of audience response.
  • MythBusters uses both crickets and the tumbleweed sound effect, usually following a particularly bad pun by a member of the build team.
  • The Girls Next Door uses this a lot, to accompany blank or stunned reactions after something dumb is said. Kendra gets a lot of these.
  • Community subverted this, by having the chirping crickets played over the loudspeaker as soothing nature sounds.
  • Dr Cox references this in Scrubs after a painful attempt at a joke by Carla. "You would hear crickets chirping, but they were too uncomfortable about just how un-funny that actually was."
  • In the season three blooper reel of Criminal Minds, there was a scene where the only sound was chirping crickets which leads Thomas Gibson (the actor who plays Hotch) to deadpan: "Got a non-union cricket."


  • Happens to Ponty from Mike Nelson's Death Rat! when he tries name-dropping some of his written works while talking to his roommates, hoping for some form of recognition. The next sentence simply reads: "Far away, a dog barked."


  • On The Howard Stern Show, Fred Norris plays a "crickets" sample whenever someone "bombs" with a joke.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • Bill Hicks did an eerily accurate vocal imitation of this in several of his routines.

Video Games

  • Happens if you screw up a Big Rock Ending in Rock Band (even though the crowd is usually still pretty enthusiastic).
  • Done in Eternal Sonata with the blowing wind variant. The party is trying to decide whether or not to use a secret passage, so they turn to Allegretto to make the decision. He decides to go for it, commenting "You know what they say - 'If you don't go into the lion's den, you can't count you chickens.'" There is a sound of wind blowing from the tunnel and after a pause, Viola comments "That doesn't make any sense."

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Both played straight and parodied in The Nostalgia Critic's review of Good Burger. Twice, an animated tumbleweed rolls across the screen during a particularly unfunny scene. The third time, it starts to roll across the screen, stops, says, "You know what? Fuck it." and then puts on a fedora and walks off the screen the way he came.
  • Happens a couple of times in The Nostalgia Chick's review of Hercules, whenever the plot gets especially confusing.
  • For those that need to hear it themselves, voila!
  • During Team RWBY's first encounter with Penny in S1E15 of RWBY, the tumbleweed-and-wind version happens twice in the space of a couple minutes. Penny even Lampshades it.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the crickets are replaced with a distant-sounding cough.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Show Biz Bugs", Daffy Duck gets this reaction when frantically competing with Bugs Bunny for a theater audience's applause.
    • Bugs himself has a similar experience in his rise to stardom in "What's Up, Doc?"
  • Defied in one episode of The Simpsons: Mr. Burns makes a check out to a hospital, then leans back in his chair and waits for the praise to roll in. Time lapse, cue crickets. Burns responds by pressing a button on his desk labeled "Cricket Poison", and the chirps go silent.
    • In the Simpsons crossover with The Critic ("A Star is Burns"), Homer makes a bad pun in an attempt to upstage one of Jay's jokes. A tumbleweed then rolls by inside the house.
    • And again in the 138th Episode Spectacular, when Troy McClure introduces the lost scenes to the "Who Shot Mr. Burns" two-parter, he starts out with a dramatic, "This past summer, all of America tried to find out who shot Mr. Burns..." then shifts to a flat, "Then they found out it was the baby." Silence, save for a deliberate cough.
    • The standard audience reaction to a joke by Krusty is a deathly silence punctuated by the sound of a lone man coughing in the back row.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Lilo & Stitch: The Series where Pleakely tries to become a stand-up comic. After his first few jokes fall flat, we hear chirping crickets... followed by Pleakely asking "Where'd those crickets come from?"
  • In the episode "Almost Got 'Im" of Batman the Animated Series, an episode in which the villains describe their elaborate schemes to get Batman, Killer Croc describes how he faced off with Batman in a quarry, and then...

[The others stare at him, then get back to an unrelated discussion]
Killer Croc: was a BIG rock...


"Every time I bring my brand of funny to Gotham, the only sound I hear is:" (holds up a toy cricket in one hand, then smashes it with the other)'

  • When SpongeBob SquarePants tried stand-up, his first joke is met with cricket chirps. The second joke bombs so bad even the cricket won't dignify it with a response.
    • Also going as far as to show an actual picture of the cricket in grass on land.
  • In the House of Mouse, Pumbaa tries to do stand up comedy, but his jokes are met with cricket chirps. Cut to Cri-kee making the chirps, and Jiminy Cricket looking slightly confused, being a cricket who looks nothing like an actual cricket.
  • Parodied in one instance of My Gym Partner's a Monkey: A cricket noise is heard, then it turns out the cricket is applauding in a way that happens to cause chirping noises, then he apologizes.
  • At one point in Yvon of the Yukon, the sound of a pin dropping on the floor resonates over the silence of the crowd.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, much of the cast is planning an angry revolt against the supposedly "Cool kids" who didn't invite them to their party. They all cite of different suggestions, until Curly adds one:

"I say we paint our faces with tiger stripes, and free all the animals of the zoo!"

  • silence* "That sounds great, Curly. We'll meet you there at eight."

"Hooray! Free the animals! *runs off laughing maniacally*
"Poor twisted little freak."


Peter: "God I hate comin' to the vet. They charge me $90 an day to keep Brian here. For $60 I could put him up at the Holiday Inn, eh, who's with me?".
(cricket chirping)
Mayor West: "My apologies, my pet cricket has restless leg syndrome."

  • Jackie Chan Adventures: The animal vessel for the power of the Monkey Talisman turns into a cricket to diss the Monkey King after a failed joke. He didn't take it well.
  • Parodied in a Robot Chicken sketch. A rock band finishes playing. Cue the Chirping Crickets. Then cut to an audience full of crickets, with one yelling "I'm clapping as loud as I can!"
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Over a Barrel": The crowd's reaction to Pinkie Pie's song is stunned silence, broken only by Spike's somewhat-desperate applause and the cry of a hawk.
    • In "The Cutie Pox", after Spike blabs about how Apple Bloom has contracted the titular disease, which scares nearly everyone in Ponyville into hiding, a tumbleweed blows by and a hawk can be heard screeching in the distance.
    • In "Baby Cakes", Pinkie's attempt to cheer the twins up with stand-up comedy elicits this. There's also the sound of someone coughing.
  • Barely audible, but it's there in Bionicle: The Legend Reborn, as Ackar's spectacular display of his Elemental Powers silences the arena audience. Could be seen as Narm, though, since the scene was meant to be serious.
  • MAD: "Told you we should have gone to the Justin Bieber concert."