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Woody: Oh, hi Buzz! Why don't you say hello to the guys over there?

Buzz's severed arm: Hi ya, fellas. To infinity and beyond!

Let's say we have Bob, Carol, and Alice. This trope is for when Bob is pretending to have a conversation with Alice, even though that Alice isn't actually there (or in certain cases, may not even exist). The purpose of this is to convince Carol that Alice is actually there, to maintain some lie Bob is pulling. Bob may do this by holding a one-sided conversation with "Alice", or he may even attempt to imitate Alice's voice and hold both sides of the conversation. Depending on the situation, this may involve Bob actually partially/fully disguising himself as Alice to further the ploy.

May also involve that character changing clothes or seating positions to further the absurdity of the one-sided conversation.

Can involve a Paper-Thin Disguise. When done while on the phone, this is a Phoney Call. Can overlap with But He Sounds Handsome (where Bob is actually pretending to be Alice, and then talks about himself). Not related to Talking to Himself, surprisingly, which refers to Real Life voice actors playing multiple characters.

Examples of Holding Both Sides of the Conversation include:


  • Astro City: used by Atomicus, who developed a power to duplicate himself and almost immediately used it to try to conceal his (rather obvious) secret identity.

Film -- Animated

 Woody: Oh, hi Buzz! Why don't you say hello to the guys over there?

Buzz's severed arm: Hi ya, fellas. To infinity and beyond!

Slinky: Hey look! It's Buzz!

Woody: [Shaking the arm's hand] Yeah, hey Buzz. Let's show the guys our new secret best-friends hand shake. Gimme five, man! [Pantomines with arm]

Hamm: Something's screwy here.

Woody: So, you see? We're friends now, guys! Aren't we, Buzz?

Buzz's severed arm: You bet. Gimme a hug! [Woody makes the arm grab his neck and pull him forward in a hug] Ha, ha, oh, I love you, too.

Slinky: See? It is Buzz. Now give back the lights, Potato Head.

Mr. Potato Head: Wait just a minute. What are you trying to pull?!

Woody: Nothing!

[Woody innocently shrugs and throws both his hands up...exposing the severed arm.]

  • Megamind: Megamind has a disguise hologram that makes him look like a normal human. At one point, though, he's in a situation where he has to pretend to be both simultaneously. There's a "fight sequence" between the two, where Megamind ends up repeatedly switching back and forth between his normal appearance and the hologram, all the while opening and closing a door over and over to give the appearance that that two are fighting each other.
  • The Pixar short Geri's Game, Geri plays both sides of a game of Chess, getting up and switching sides of the table to do so. He acts out both parts, including feigning a heart attack and tricking the other into thinking he's lost. The difference between them is one has glasses and the other doesn't.

Film -- Live Action

  • Mrs. Doubtfire: Daniel receives a surprise visit from a caseworker, who's looking for Mrs. Doubtfire. Daniel says "She'll be right out..." and then runs into a backroom. While getting into his Mrs. Doubtfire costume and makeup, he loudly holds both sides of the conversation, with Daniel "waking up" Doubtfire. At the end, Mrs. Doubtfire answers the door and casually mentions that Daniel had to leave.
  • Young Frankenstein has an inverse example: in order to disguise a dead body, the title character pretends the arm of the dead man is his own.

Live-Action Television

  • The Britcom Sykes has an episode where the eponymous Eric pretends to be his own sister to try and fool a criminal uninvited guest (played by Peter Sellers) who claims she once promised to marry him. There are a couple of scenes where Eric has to hold rapid-fire conversations with himself while changing clothes out of sight.
  • In one episode of ALF, the titular character manages to get himself into a situation wherein he has to (vocally) play the role of a hostage-taker as well as a whole bunch of hostages.
  • The hostage variant was done earlier in an 1983 episode of the Finnish cop sitcom Reinikainen [1][2][3] where a burglar of thousand voices pretends to be holding a number of Finnish celebrities hostage in a cottage he just robbed.
  • In the Adam West Batman series, Batman and Bruce Wayne have a phone conversation.
  • Attempted in an early episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. One twin had to convince the babysitter they were both in the bathroom while the other was sneaking off for the latest Wacky Hijink.
  • In the show Good Luck Charlie, during the episode "Appy Days," Teddy tricks both her mother and Ivy's mother into letting them both go to a senior party by recording a conversation on her phone and playing it back so it appears their mothers are giving their approval.


  • In Twelfth Night, Feste fakes a conversation between himself and "Sir Topas the Curate" outside Malvolio's cell.

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons
    • Homer tries to withdraw his and Marge's life savings from the bank. The banker insists that he needs both of their signatures.

 Homer: I'd like to withdraw my life's savings, please.

Teller: Uh, sir, this is a joint account. You'll need your wife's signature, too.

Homer: Oh, yes, of course. She's, uh, behind that plant. Hello, Marge. [ducks behind plant] Hi, Homey. [as himself] Sign this, please. [as Marge] You're the boss. [as Lisa] Daddy, ask the man for some candy. [as himself] Now, now, no candy for you. [as Lisa] Well, at least get some candy for yourself. [walks back to the teller] Heh, heh, heh, kids.

Teller: [sighs] Here's your candy.

Homer: So long, sucker!

Teller: Uh, sir? Your life savings?

Homer: [nonchalant] Ah, yes, I see that it's in bill form. Excellent.

    • In another episode, Bart gets caught by Marge and Homer doing something he shouldn't. He says that Marge gave him permission, and since he thought she wouldn't remember, he took the liberty of recording the conversation. He plays it back, and it's obviously Bart doing an impression of Marge.

 Marge: That's not my voice!

Homer: Oh, everybody says that when they hear themselves.

  • In the Sidekicks animated show, one episode focused on "Super Mother's Day". Maximan's Maximom wanted to spend the day with him, but since Maximan is missing, Eric tries to cover it up. At one point, he creates a Maximan dummy and props it across the street, with Trevor using the dummy as a puppet to wave and talk to Maximom. Unfortunately they somehow didn't think that Maximom would try to cross the street to go see him.
  • Family Guy: Stewie pretends to be a girl in order to get on his favorite TV show, Jolly Farms Revue. When a girl he has a crush on comes over to meet his girl persona, he quickly goes to change into his girl costume while he argues with himself, pretending to be both Stewie and the girl. And then does the same thing in reverse later.
  • In season one of The Critic, Jay often does this by pretending to be his secretary with British nanny accent. He doesn't do this gag anymore since Alice appeared in season 2.

Web Original

  • In That Guy With The Glasses's 2nd year anniversary, Kickassia, the Molassian president has a conversation with his Foreign Relations officer. They are the same guy in different attire.
    • Of course, if you look at the Molassia website, the same guy plays at least five different roles in his government. He must do this constantly.

Real Life

  • There is an entire profession based on this. It is called ventriloquism.
  • It is "common knowledge" that talking to yourself is a sign of madness. Although there seems to be no science supporting this though.
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