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"Do you know my friend... George Washington?"

A person is standing in line at a restaurant, club, or private party, and when they get to the head of the line the Bouncer checks a list. The person is not on the list, so they can't go in. The plot usually requires them to get into said venue, so wacky antics usually ensue. Or punching.

This has various incarnations:

  • Not on the List: Character wants to get into a club and the bouncer says they're not on the list. Subtypes:
    • Bouncer actually checks;
    • Bouncer doesn't even check (Pre-judged!)
  • (But) I'm on the List: Character says this to bouncer. Played for laughs if it is common knowledge there's no list.
  • Check it Again / Do you know who I Am: Character is either not important and thinks they are or *is* important but just not to the bouncer/venue/geolocation.

A sister trope of

Examples of Not on the List include:


  • The Vikings from Capital One's "What's in Your Wallet" series try to get into a night club. The Vikings' goat is allowed into the bar but the Vikings themselves are Not on the List. There may be a Youtube video for someone to find.
  • A recent beer commercial has a guy hiring a bouncer...for his house. And his wife's not on the list.


  • In Snatch, Avi goes as far as to say "we're on the list" to the second bouncer.
  • A Night at the Roxbury mentions this trope no less than seven times.
  • St Peter plays this trope straight with sinners in comic strips, movies, and cartoons.
  • The Mask invokes this trope twice: The first time, when Ipkiss goes to the Coco Bongo club with his friend and isn't let in, the second when The Mask goes to the club and pushes his way through after throwing a lot of money around.
  • Ferris Buellers Day Off, Bueller and friends try to get into a fancy restaurant but they're not on the reservation list; eventually they pretend they're someone who is on the list.
  • The movie Made plays this trope the first two ways.

 Ricky: (responding to irritated looks) Watch out, man. Sorry. I'm on the list, man. (to the doorman) Hey, bro.

Doorman: The line's over there.

Ricky: Yeah, but, we're good. You know what I mean?

Doorman: How is it you're good? You on a list?

Ricky: Yeah. Ricky Slade.

Doorman: (to doorman with clipboard) You see a Ricky Slade? (The doorman with a clipboard checks and shakes his head.)

  • Robots. Rodney and Fender are trying to get into the Bigweld Ball.

 Tim the Gate Guard: Uh, you're not on the list.

  • Real Genius. The protagonists are trying to get into a U.S. Air Force base.

 Air Force SP: You're not on the list.

 Security Guard: [to Rupert] If your name is not on the list, we cannot let you in.

 Bouncer: Sorry Mr. Carter, you're not on the list.

Jack Carter: [Jack punches him] Nobody likes the list guy.

  • Stan Lee makes cameos this way in a lot of Marvel films.
  • In Blade the bouncer asks the titular character if he has a invitation instead of checking a list. Needless to say, he doesn't and throws the guy through the door.
  • Strange Days when Lenny Nero tries to get in to the Retinal Fetish.
  • Constantine when trying to get into a club is literally told this.
  • At the end of Asterix: Mission Cleopatre, Julius Caesar tries to get into the party hosted by Cleopatra, only to find he's not on the list. His general is, all the side characters are, but he is not.

Live-Action TV

  • In Living Color. The "Club Bouncers" sketches had two bouncers (played by Jamie Foxx and Tommy Davidson) telling people they weren't on the list and couldn't enter.
  • How I Met Your Mother. Being on the list is an important plot element in Season 1's "Okay Awesome" episode. Robin is on the list to get into the club since she's already in when Ted and Barney arrive and her word is enough to get them in. However, she is not on the list for the VIP room and when she exits the club to sort out the situation, she's unable to re-enter, since her name has already been crossed off. That is, until Lily joins her and takes action.
  • Joe Fontana in Law and Order says "It's ok, we're authorized" whenever there is a list or a subject is unwilling to discuss something.
  • Murphy Brown: In a Flash Back episode showing the crew's various experiences at their first presidential elections, Murphy sneaks a peek at the list of eligible voters and claims the name of the first woman she sees - who is 82 years old. Murphy then goes on a rant about not being able to vote yet and is dragged out of the polling place.
  • 30 Rock

 Kenneth: I'm sorry, this is a private party.

Ridikolous: Hold on: we're with Tracy Jordan.

Kenneth: And Mr. Jordan himself said "don't let no one in who's not on the list 'cause this mess is gonna get raw like sushi, so haters to the left."

 Styxoid: No passage!

Leelee: Excuse me? Do you know who I am? I'm Leelee Pimvare. Rearrange the letters in my last name, and, oh, what do you get? Yeah, "vampire." In fact, I'm the next Queen of the Vampires, so...

Styxoid 2: You're not on the list.

  • In an episode of Bones the bouncer tells Booth he's not on the list (but lets Brennan in); Booth then shows the bouncer his FBI badge.
  • A running gag on Muppets Tonight was the guest star trying to get in and being stopped by security guard Bobo the bear who had to check if they were on the list. The ultimate example probably being with guest star Prince... during his "formerly known as" phase.

 Prince: I'm the artist formerly known as Prince.

Bobo: And I'm the bear currently known as not amused.


  • Klaxons - The Bouncer has "not on the list" as lyrics.
  • Ke$ha - Party at a Rich Dude's House invokes this trope.

Professional Wrestling

Tabletop RPG

  • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "The Harder They Clone". The doorman at an illegal club tells the Troubleshooters they aren't on the list and can't get in.

Video Games

 "Aria's expecting me. Ugh."

"Coldly: If she was expecting you, you would already be inside."

  • In Deus Ex Human Revolution, you have to get into the most popular nightclub in Hengsha, the Hive. The bouncer doesn't even have a list, he just says that only members are allowed in. Fortunately, membership is as easy as one thousand credits. Alternative methods include finding the back entrance, or stealing someone else's membership card.


Web Original

  • Homestar Runner "Strongbad_email.exe: Disc Six". Strong Bad goes to Club Technochocolate.

 Strong Bad: [narrating] Of course, the club only lets the freshest clientele inside. But my name has been laser-etched into the guest list by now.

Strong Mad: NAME, PLEASE!

Strong Bad: Come on, man, drop the act! I've gotta get into the pwahty club!

Strong Mad: [looking at a grease-stained Blubb-O's bag] YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST!

Western Animation

  • Hercules, "Hercules and the Prom": Herc is trying to sneak into the Underworld to save Orpheus. This is the second type.

 Hercules: But I'm on the list.

Panic: Oh, yeah? Well, guess what? There is no list.

Hercules: Then how do you know I'm not on it?

Pain: He's got you there.

  • The Penguins of Madagascar, "All King, No Kingdom": After King Julien divides the lemur habitat into his side and Maurice and Mort's side, the latter throw a party on their side. Julien tries to get in, but the gorillas stop him, saying that he's not on the list. After checking again, they find Julien on the list... of whom not to let in.
  • In The Simpsons, Homer tries to get into Flaming Moe's. The bouncer tells him "Your name's not on the list," and Homer rightly points out that he didn't even tell him his name. Of course, he then does tell him, and it isn't on the list.
  • In a DuckTales comic in Disney Adventures, Huey, Dewey and Louie try to get into a party for criminals by posing as a new gang called "The Danger Ducks". They're tied up and held captive out the back, until Webby arrives and manages to forge their name on the list before rescuing them. The bouncer is fooled and is instantly apologetic.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Best Day Ever Spongebob is not allowed into Squidward's clarinet recital because his name wasn't on the list. After several tries to get in, the guard realizes Spongebob was on the VIP list. However as soon as Spongebob gets in Squidward's recital is over.
  • Played extensively in King of the Hill episode Smoking and the Bandit. Started when Peggy tailing Hank, Dale, Bobby, and Joseph in pursuit of the "smoking bandit". Peggy thought they went to the nightclub, but she's stopped by the bouncer. She tries giving various names since she's not "on the list" and also holding back the line. When she's finally allowed inside, she couldn't cover the $12 charge.
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