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A displeased crowd is throwing stuff at speakers and artists according to the Rule of Funny. Eggs, lettuce and vegetables are generally favored, with tomatoes an all-time favorite. Originates from way back in the 19th century, when audiences and working-class theatergoers would often carry these things into the (very rowdy by our standards) theaters, and chuck it (or chairs and such) at bad performances. Look for an Honest John-type character to have a cart filled with said rotten vegetables for sale for this particular purpose.
Anime and Manga
- On the first episode or movie of any adaptation of Hana Yori Dango all the students gather around Tsukushi and nail her with rotten eggs and other stuff the Korean adaptation even added a flour Bucket Booby Trap to deliver some extra humiliation for the Plucky Girl
- This was also used in Episode 12 of the Little Lulu anime. Lulu and the others did this to a picture of Wilbur's butler that was drawn on the side of the clubhouse, after he snobbishly put them off the activities that they normally did.
- Lampshaded in a Mitch Hedburg comedy bit.
Mitch: "I'm worried about doing bad on a performance, and people, throwing tomatoes. But then I think 'Who'd bring a tomato?'"
- In The Blues Brothers, when the Blues Brothers play the bar that features "both kinds of music--country and western," they perform behind chicken wire because the patrons tend to throw beer bottles. That still contain beer. They do this both when they hate the music and when they love it.
- In the Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera, the bad-guy opera singer tries to steal the good-guy opera singer's thunder and is pelted. When he angrily objects to apples thrown at him, Groucho explains "Well, watermelons are out of season!"
- At the end of Duck Soup, Firefly, Chicolino, and Pinky do this to Trentino after they capture him. After Trentino surrenders and Mrs. Teasdale triumphantly sings the Freedonia national anthem (again), they start throwing fruit at her.
- Before they were stars the Marx Brothers did a tour of England, where the tradition was to throw pennies at bad acts. After getting pelted Groucho said, "we came all the way from the United States to perform for you. Could you at least throw shillings?"
- It's a running gag in Garfield.
- In a Donald Duck comic, poor Donald was once at the receiving end of this. Various types of fruits were thrown at him - including a ridiculously huge watermelon!
- In one-page comic starring Scrooge McDuck, he gains some money with this. Step 1: Perform a purposely bad performance in a talent show. Step 2: Catch all vegetables thrown at him. Step 3: Sell them. Step 4: PROFIT!!.
- In an issue of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, the audience entrance of a talent show has a barrel of free rotten vegetables.
- After Robin loses an archery contest in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, everyone gets pelted. Blinkin: "Oh, good. They opened up the salad bar."
- Young Frankenstein. During Frederick and the monster's performance.
- The Penguin, the Villain with Good Publicity from Batman Returns, trots out the above quote when his former supporters start throwing eggs and tomatoes at him after Batman exposes him for what he is by means of an Engineered Public Confession.
- In Mel Gibson's The Patriot, Benjamin Martin tests the suitability of potential recruits by walking into a rough tavern and shouting "God Save King George!" The patrons immediately hurl things at him (including a giant knife). Martin says, "This is the place."
- Happens to a traveling opera company that makes a hash of Faust in Buster Keaton's The Haunted House.
- This happened to Quasimodo in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- This is ultimately how the United States soldiers stationed within Italy end up having to drive Captain America off stage in a USO tour gone sour in Captain America the First Avenger (that, as well as a soldier mooning him.).
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? had the audience, when becoming fed up with Stokes' interruption of their play due to their ruining a Klan rally and their being convicts, start pelting food at him after his microphone is shut off by the recording studio. It gets worse for him later when they decide to run him out of town on a rail.
- Gangs of New York does this, but with cabbage (the audience is too poor for fruit).
- Although technically a Food Fight, the fact that the uptight teacher was constantly being hit by food, almost a gang up, in the movie Max Keeble's Big Move makes it more comparable to this trope.
- In Mrs. Doubtfire, Daniel (as Mrs. Doubtfire) throws a lime at his ex-wife's new boyfriend. When he turns around, Mrs. D claims it was a poolboy angry about an inadequate tip. "Oh, it was a run-by fruiting!"
- In The Blues Brothers, the Blues Brothers perform in a bar in the Deep South to a crowd that doesn't appreciate their normal style of music. The patrons throw empty beer bottles at them while booing, but they're protected by a chicken-wire fence. They then change their style to something the crowd likes, and the crowd starts cheering - but keeps on throwing bottles anyway.
- Implied in a song in Newsies:
And the world will know that this ain't no game
That we got a ton of rotten fruit and perfect aim
- In Huckleberry Finn, the villagers take rotten veggies to the theater after realizing that the Duke and the King's play is a scam.
- In the Discworld book Soul Music, Glod tries to catch the fruit they throw at him. Musicians have got to eat, ya know.
- In Beyond the Western Sea, Horatio Drabble performs Shakespeare on the Liverpool streets and gets produce thrown at him.
- Happens several times in PG Wodehouse stories. One variation is in the Jeeves and Wooster story "The Metropolitan Touch", where the finale of a show is supposed to involve the chorus throwing balls of wool (representing oranges) to the audience. On the night, the villain of the piece substitutes real oranges, and the show promptly devolves into an all-out fruit fight with the audience caught in the middle.
- Played seriously in the Hand of Thrawn duology - two men inciting a riot in an already-angry crowd start by screaming for justice and throwing produce. Once the mob is pelting the building with food, they introduce rocks. After that's been going on for a while, they throw a grenade into the crowd and get out of there.
- Mentioned in Starfighters of Adumar. When reflecting on their massive drop in popularity, one pilot of Red Flight says that at least the Adumari haven't erected statues of them to throw rotten produce at. Another pilot says to give them a couple days.
- IN Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, a particularly Incredibly Lame Pun would be met with a shower of peanuts.
Live Action TV
- Happened to Livia in I, Claudius.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer a flashback to the time before Anya became a vengeance demon shows a bunch of villagers attacking enemies with "fruits and various meats".
- In the Nightmares episode, Willow, in her forced-to-sing nightmare, backs off a stage where the booing patrons are throwing tomatoes.
- In Blackadder The Third Edmund invites Prince George to star as the title character in his new play: Thick Jack Clot Sits in the Stocks and Gets Pelted with Rancid Tomatoes. George, of course, readily agrees.
- Merlin spends a lot of time in Camelot's stocks getting pelted by the local children with lettuces and anachronistic tomatoes. In something of a subversion, he takes it with remarkable cheer, and everyone else seems to view it as good clean (if slightly mean-spirited) family fun.
- Jeeves and Wooster called this "getting the bird," presumably because it involved things flying at you. In one episode, Bertie is nervous to see people in the audience passing around produce while he's singing. One of his friends is able to calm them down, but the vegetables in question still fly for Tuppy Glossop and Cora Bellenger.
- Played with on an episode of Wayne Brady's version of Let's Make a Deal: A contestant got zonked with a ton of rotten tomatoes, and Brady offered the contestant cash if she could hit the announcer, Jonathan Mangum (who was standing onstage next to the Zonk) with a tomato.
- In the You Can't Do That on Television episode on Generosity, Jill Stanley is pelted with tomatoes because the audience didn't like her solo.
- In the "Everybody Hates Elections" episode of Everybody Hates Chris, Chris is running for class president and finds himself in a debate against his opponent (the biggest bully on campus). Chris is really liking how his opponent is winning over the crowd, so he starts emulating him. One line Chris likes is "_____ now, _____ tomorrow and _____ forever." Problem is, he fouls up and ends up saying "Detention now, detention tomorrow and detention forever.". Cue about 200 pounds of mainly lettuce and tomatoes, with lots of other fruit and veggies mixed in, being tossed right at him.
- In Honey, the Play's the Thingie, the audience are searched at the door in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent this.
- The Beatles song With A Little Help from my Friends originally started "What would you do if I sang out of tune?/Would you stand up and throw tomatoes at me?". Despite their intention to not do any live concerts in the near future, Ringo (who sings the song) still requested that the line be changed lest fans take it as an cue to actually stand up and throw tomatoes at him.
- Toby Keith recreates the chicken-wire-as-pelting-preventer bar setup in "I Love This Bar".
- The Foo Fighters stopped playing "Big Me" for a while because because of this:
- Traditionally, the first band on at Monsters of Rock at Donnington Park gets pelted off the stage. Fans really go all out - one year, an entire stale Christmas cake was thrown.
- The Comic Strip made use of this, putting their fictional band Bad News on first and filming them getting pelted.
- In one fabled incident, someone threw a live chicken onto the stage at an Alice Cooper gig. Cooper picked it up and, thinking it would fly away, launched it back over the audience. It fluttered down into the crowd, which promptly tore it to pieces.
- Hulk Hogan got pelted with trash after his shocking heel turn at WCW Bash At The Beach 1996, wherein he turned into Hollywood Hogan of the New World Order.
- This incident touched off a trend of throwing stuff at the ring. Classless at the best of times, the fad arguably reached its nadir on the 1 December 1997 edition of Monday Nitro, when referee Randy Anderson got hit in the eye with a golf ball during a match between Curt Hennig and Diamond Dallas Page.
- ROH had this happen on a few occasions. Nigel McGuinness and the Age of the Fall frequently drew so much ire with their victories that fans threw empty bottles and whatever else was on hand into the ring.
- A radio broadcast from Glastonbury about an annoying girl duo Daphne & Celeste being pelted with absolutely everything that came to hand: fruit, vegetables, mud, bottles, refilled bottles. They didn't seem to mind, saying the audience had been lethargic before and "they woke up to hate us!"
- The term "peanut gallery" originates from audience members who heckled performers by throwing exactly that.
- Real life example: the journalist who said farewell to George W. Bush by throwing his shoes at him (Bush dodged both). He was arrested and tortured for that, but he was hailed all around the Arab world – indeed, all over the Western world – as a hero.
- Justin Timberlake got water bottles, muffins and other random trash chucked at him during his performance at a 2003 benefit concert in Toronto.
- In Game 7 of the 1934 World Series, angry Detroit Tiger fans pelted St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Joe "Ducky" Medwick with food, bottles, seat cushions, etc., bringing the game to a halt and forcing the sport's then-commissioner to bench Medwick for his own safety.
- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had a statuette of Milan Cathedral thrown at his face, which broke his nose and two of his teeth.
- A heckler once threw a cabbage at US President William McKinley while he was giving a speech. McKinley caught it and said, "it seems that one of my detractors has lost his head," without missing a beat.
- Apparently (as per this table in Portuguese), it's a tradition in music festivals set in Brazil - most notable case being True Art Is Incomprehensible musician Carlinhos Brown being pelted with water bottles at 2001's Rock in Rio III.
- Nickelback was stoned during a festival in Portugal, even cutting their performance short.
- Tabletop RPG Stormbringer supplement Demon Magic: The Second Stormbringer Companion, adventure "The Velvet Circle". If the customers at the House of Melodac don't like the singer's performance, they end it in a shower of fruit and vegetables.
- Gypsy references this in an extra verse of "Together Wherever We Go":
When the audience boos,
We don't drop our cues.
We always can use what they throw.
The fruit may fly, but why complain?
Tomato sauce goes great with chow mein.
- In Paper Mario 2 the battles take place on a theater stage. If you're doing badly (or if the crowd is just feeling mean) then they start throwing rubbish at you. You can counter this by going into the crowd and smacking them with a hammer, but be careful as they can also give you helpful items.
- Or, you could wait until they throw the rubbish at you and switch characters. This will prevent damage done AND keeps your audience count the same, even though you would lose just 1 doing it otherwise (and usually that one is quickly replaced). This is a less viable option if a bunch of X-Nauts decide to throw rocks at you at once--and they do so often enough for it to be a concern. If your character up front has already went though, you'll have to finish selecting an attack or smack them.
- During the Title Defense match with Aran Ryan in Punch Out Wii, he taunts you between rounds - and then gets pelted with garbage. He turns in his seat and starts threatening the crowd.
- Super Macho Man gets pelted as well, but he takes it in his stride and Pec Flexes the tomato stuck on his chest off.
- Rune Factory 3 allows the player to do this to monsters. As an attack. It's more useful if you throw status-effect-causing food, rather than ordinary crops, though.
- Random NPCs will throw rotten fruits at your character the first time you visit Stormwind or Orgrimmar as a Death Knight in World of Warcraft.
- In the Forest Stage section of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, depending on the mask Link wears at the stage, the Deku Scrubs will either adore it, have mixed reviews on it, or hate it. If it is the last one, they'll do their own variation on Produce Pelting... by spitting Deku Nuts at Link until he leaves.
- In The Sims Medieval, Sims in the stocks can have tomatoes and eggs thrown at them (if the Sim you're playing is on the receiving end of this treatment, it increases the negative buff they get from the stocks).
- In the Point and Click Game Pink Panther: Passport to Peril, Pink Panther has to give a performance in a Chinese opera. However, if the player makes him walk onto the stage without the required costume and/or make-up, the audience will start throwing tomatoes at him.
- One puzzle in King's Quest VI requires you to get a minor character to throw a rotten tomato at another one.
- Future Cop LAPD intro: After a barrage or rockets and machine-gun fire a single ripe tomato is thrown.
- Batman: Arkham Origins has a darker version of the trope. During Joker's therapy session with Harleen Quinzel at Blackgate, the flashback shows a congregated audience at a Comedy Club randomly morphing into Batman look-alikes while booing at Joker and then tossing various objects at the stage, including bottles, flasks, mugs, and even lethal objects such as a lamp and some hatchets.
- The SCP Foundation brings us SCP-504, a tomato plant that will violently launch its fruit toward poor attempts at comedy. Severity of impact is seemingly related to quality (rather, the lack thereof) of the joke:
Item: One mature SCP-504 tomato
Subject: A portable computer playing a pre-recorded engineering joke.
Transcript: "2009 is going to be a complex year. We already know the real part; we still have to find the imaginary part".
Result: Supersonic blast detected; computer was completely vaporized by the tomato's kinetic energy. Sensor readings indicate an approximate speed of 3500 km/h (2174 mph).
- Rotten Tomatoes is named after this.
- Uncyclopedia reports that throwing produce is merely a more primitive version of the Staple Gun.
- In the episode of SpongeBob SquarePants "Culture Shock", the audience boos Squidward during the talent show and throws tomatoes from the free salad bar. Mr. Krabs, spotting a business opportunity, immediately starts charging for the salad bar.
- In the episode "The Smoking Peanut", Patrick is accused of throwing a peanut at a trained clam. He's tied up and pelted with peanuts as retribution. Patrick just catches them in his mouth.
- Veggie Tales: A character gets pelted with produce--and one of the projectiles is actually Bob the Tomato.
Bob: "We do not throw tomatoes in this town!"
- The circus bugs in A Bugs Life are pretty bad performers, and receive this treatment.
- Happens to Tanya in the second American Tail movie. Mama just scoops the produce off the walls and into a skillet, and Papa jokes that she should keep singing so that the hecklers will literally throw in dessert as well.
- Done in Kim Possible when Ron is on stage at Camp Wannaweep, lampshaded in typical Kim Possible fashion he wonders a few times where all this fruit is coming from.
- In The Simpsons, the Springfield baseball stadium has a "tomato day", when people are given free tomatoes with which to pelt a representative of the Springfield Communist Party.
- "Oh well, this is better than Dart Day..."
- Used again in "Bart to the Future" where Bart and Ralph perform a cheap rip-off of "Margaritaville" and get pelted with beer bottles -- which hit a laser grid force field.
- And earlier in a redneck bar, when the owner announces that drink service will be suspended for a few minutes, he has to duck several bottles, a chair and a live pig.
- Season eight's "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson" where Marge tries to sell her pretzels at a ballgame, but the sports fans end up hurling them at Whitey Ford.
- Subverted in "Co-Dependents Day", where despite Luigi vowing to throw his spaghetti and meatballs at the movie theater screen in response to Jim-Jam Bonks's appearance in Cosmic Wars: The Gathering Shadow, he instead takes an opportunity to pose for a photo for a (presumably promotional) pizza box, and is never seen doing so by the time the movie ends.
- In the season 21 episode "American History X-celent", Moe is selling throwing stuff at the crowd gathered to watch Mr. Burns being carted away to jail. "Get your throwing stuff here! Turn a protest into a riot!"
- In the beginning of "Bart the Daredevil", Bart and Homer, as well as their friends, are watching a wrestling match between Rasputin the Friendly Russian and Werner von Brawn. When witnessing von Brawn not only whack Rasputin from behind with a wrench and knock him out cold, but also declared the victor by the "fair and balanced referee", both parties, at the house and Moe's Tavern, respectively, proceed to boo and throw their food at the TV in outrage over the result of the match. Food was also being seen thrown in the actual ring immediately beforehand.
- Phineas and Ferb, "Out of Toon": After the boys turn their older sister Candace into a villain for their cartoon, people began throwing tomatoes at her. The boys managed to cheer her up by telling her that it meant they liked her and she was a good villain.
Candace: Maybe I'll go feel the love! (gets hit by tomatoes) Love feels a lot like tomatoes.
- Muppet Babies had Fozzie hit by a tomato whenever he told a bad joke.
- Done a lot in classic cartoons - notably in Tex Avery's Magical Maestro, where an opera singer's costume is repeatedly transformed by the magician/conductor. An irate audience member hurls a huge pile of fruit at the stage, just in time for the singer to get turned into Carmen Miranda.
- A similar gag in "What's Cookin' Doc?" has Bugs Bunny campaining for an Academy Award... at the awards banquet. The audience throws assorted fruit, burying Bugs, who emerges briefly wearing a Carmen Miranda fruit hat, before getting clobbered with what he thinks is an Oscar, but turns out to be a booby prize.
- And "One Froggy Evening." The poor protagonist offers Free Admission (and later Free Beer) to the debut of the Singing Frog (before he was known as Michigan J. Frog). All the crowd gets to see is the little green thing croaking in place. Cue the loud continuous booing... and, of course, the onslaught of fruits and vegetables in the man's face while the curtain is covering everything else.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Samy tries to perform, he inevitably runs into this trope.
- In Doug's realization that Patty is a terrible singer (yet can't bring himself to tell her the truth because he isn't willing to risk hurting her feelings), he imagines her attempt at singing in a theater, and then the audience members proceeding to pelt produce at her, and she's still singing even when she is up to her waist in a pile of rotten food.
- In an episode of Garfield and Friends Garfield discusses and invokes this trope. He talks about going on the Comedy Diet where you can only eat what people throw at you. He then goes on stage and tells bad jokes until the audience hits him with vegetables.
- Tummi Gummi actually fell victim to this at the end of the Gummi Bears episode, "The Fence Sitter". After the Gummis successfully got the Gummiberry-eating bird to switch its diet to blackberries, this leads to a brief discussion about what the fate of the bird's babies is going to be. Tummi even chimes in that they would have to let the baby birds vote too. This led to him getting pelted by blackberries from the other Gummis in response
- Futurama's Zoidberg does a stand-up routine which sucks; Leila and Bender pelt him with tomatoes, which Zoidberg happily eats.
- The Classic Disney Short Der Fuehrer's Face ends with a cariacture representing Adolf Hitler's face being hit by a tomato, which then trickles to form the words "The End."