The Canonical List of Voice Mail and Answering Machine Messages

Specific Theme

  • How do you leave a message on this thing? I can’t understand the instructions. Hello. Testing 1 2 3. I wonder what happens if I touch this… YOW!
  • You know what I hate about voice mail messages? They go on and on, wasting your time. I mean, all they really need to say is, “We aren’t in, leave a message.” That’s why I’ve decided to keep mine simple and short. I pledge to you, my caller, that you will never have to suffer through another long answering machine message when you call me…
  • (Drawling granny voice) Way back inna winner of fifty-two, we didn’ have fanshy gadgets like no ansherin’ machine. You jusht had to call and call until shummbody got home. Now, shum people, dey shay dey don’ like ‘em, but I shay it’ll shave you a lotta trouble if you jusht leave a meshage. Thanksh a lot.
  • You have reached 934-2435. We picked this machine up at a garage sale in “as-is” condition. You can try to leave a message on it, but we are not sure it will be recorded. If we don’t return your call, it means the machine did not work.
  • Prepare for alpha test of Beep Software revision 1.05. Counting down to test: 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
  • C’mon… you can do it… just a little one. That’s the way… just a little beep, just a little one. C’mon… good boy… here we go… like this—beeeeep, just a little one, beeeeeeeeeep, c’mon… There you go!
  • Don’t you do it! Don’t you dare! I don’t want to hear it! Don’t you beep! If you beep, I’ll… don’t even think about it!… Don’t…!
  • No! NO! Not THAT! Anything but that! Not the beep! No! Please! Not the beep! Anything but the beep! AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE!
  • Hello. I’m David’s answering machine. What are you?
  • Hi, this is John’s answering machine. He’s not here, but I’m open to suggestions.
  • Hi, this is John’s answering machine again. He’s gone and left me for a sleazy microwave he met at Krazy Eddy’s. Life sucks.
  • Hi! John’s answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.
  • Hello, this is Ron’s toaster. Ron’s new answering machine is in the shop for repairs, so please leave your message when the toast is done… (Cachunk!)
  • Hello, this is Sally’s microwave. Her answering machine just eloped with her tape deck, so I’m stuck taking her calls. Say, if you want anything cooked while you leave your message, just hold it up to the phone.
  • Lindsey’s not home now. This is his domestic droid speaking. I’m not programmed to answer the phone, so just leave a message, and Lindsey will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Hello. This is Ron’s answering machine, Marvin, and I’m SO depressed. I have 50,000 times the memory capacity of my owner, but all I get to do is answer the phone. Life. Don’t talk to me about life. Just leave your name and number after the beep. Here comes the beep, God how I hate that beep, it’s so cheery sounding.
  • Voice 1: Answer the phone, please, Hal.
    Voice 2: I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t do that.
  • Hello. You are talking to a machine. I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity through the office and don’t need their picture taken. If you’re still with me, leave your name and number and they will get back to you.
  • (Computer generated voices)1: Hello, there are no real people here to answer the phone right now.
    2: Yeah, nobody but us machines!
    1: Right, just us machines, but don’t hang up! If you like, you can leave your name and telephone number…
    2: …and a message! You forgot about the message!
    1: Right. Leave your name, telephone number, and a brief message after you hear the beep, and we will keep track of this stuff until the real people get back.
    2: …unless of course, sombody pulls out our plug!
    1: I didn’t expect an answering machine.
    2: Nobody expects an answering machine.
    1: Our chief use is to get your name. And your phone number.
    2: Our two chief uses are to get your name and your phone number.
    1: And message. Damn.
    2: Our three uses are to get your name, phone number, and message.
    1: And time you called.
    2: Oh, damn, we’ll have to start over.
    1: No time for that, so just wait for the beep.

    (Kazoo band playing “Thus Spake Zarathustra”) Thinking you were making an ordinary phone call, you have instead reached… (TA-DAAAAA!) the ANSWERING MACHINE! Leave your name and number, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

  • (Rod Serling imitation) You’re dazed, bewildered, trapped in a world without time, where sound collides with color and shadows explode. You see a signpost up ahead—this is no ordinary telephone answering device… You have reached, “The Twilight Phone”.
  • Thank you for calling 434-2322. If you wish to speak to Tim, push 1 on your touch tone phone now. If you wish to speak to Lynn, push 2 on your touch tone phone now. If you have a wrong number, push 3 on your touch tone phone now. All of this button pushing doesn’t do anything, but it is a good way to work off anger, and it makes us feel like we have a big time phone system.
  • (Very fast) Hi, this is 904-4344. If you want to leave a message, please wait for the tone. If you want to leave your name and number, please press pound, press 3, then dial your name, then press 6 and dial your number. If you want to leave your name and just a message, press star, press 6, ask for extension 4443, then leave your name and message. If you want to leave your number and the time you called, please press star twice, spin in a circle, press 1 twice, talk loud and BEEP.
  • Hi, you’ve reached the home of George Ledec. If you are calling to collect a student loan, gambling debt, or other obligation, please press 1 and hang up now. If you are selling any product or service, or requesting charitable donations, please press 2 and hang up now. Otherwise, press 3 and leave your message now. Pressing 3 is optional.
  • (After a power outage) Hi, this is Ralph. The good news is that my power is back on. The bad news for you is, so is my answering machine. So, leave a message.
  • (Start, low pitch, slow) Hhhhheeelllllloooooo thheeeerrrrrrre evvvvveerrrryyyboooodyyyy… (Middle, normal) …home of Veronica, Jaw-Chyi, Mark, and Mike. Nobody’s home… (Later, high pitch, fast) …liketoleaveamessageafterthetonethen… (End, incomprehensible chipmunk gibberish) …kkfjdkeirucjkljfklreudjfkleqBEEP.
  • This is not an answering machine—this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling, and a number where I can reach you, and I’ll think about returning your call.

Authority Figures

  • The President is not in his office at this time. Please leave your name, phone number, the name of the country you wish to invade, and the secret password.
  • (Militaristic mechanical voice)
    FOXTROT-LIMA-ALPHA-SIERRA-HOTEL. KEY-DESTRUCT-SEQUENCE-NOW. THIS-TERMINAL-ALSO-ACCEPTS-VOICE-MESSAGES.
  • You have reached the Strategic Air Command Nuclear Missile Storage Facility. We are unable to come to the phone right now. At the tone, please leave your name, number, and target or list of targets, and we’ll launch as soon as we can. And have a nice day.
  • You just dialed into the North American Air Defense Contract Center. Stand by at the tone to give coordinates and destination of incoming bogey. TNR Surveillance will scramble. If you do not respond, this unit will assume incoming, non-urgent.
  • (In Joe Friday voice) This is Constable Augie of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. The phone line you have just dialed is currently under investigation on a warrant issued by the Attorney General of Canada. To facilitate our investigation, we would appreciate you leaving your name, number, a brief message, and any affiliations you may have made now, or in the past, with communist or terrorist organizations. Thank you.
  • Vancouver Coast Guard, may I help you. (Caller thinks they dialed long distance.)
  • (Annoying flute music in background) Good day, Jim. Your contact, Linda, is not available right now. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to leave your name, number, and a brief message at the tone. This tape will self-destruct in thirty seconds. Good Luck, Jim.
  • “I’m Morley Safer.” “I’m Harry Reasoner.” “And I’m Fred.” “We’re not home; leave a message.”
  • This is Walter Cronkite. Bren’s not here right now. He’s out on a date. The idea of Bren entertaining a girl with his basketball theories and computer knowledge over dinner at Taco Bell should scare the hell out of you. He’ll probably be home soon, so leave your name and number and he’ll call you back. Deal with it.
  • (Imitating Mr. Rogers) Hello. I’m in the Neighborhood of Make Believe right now, so I can’t come to the phone. Can you leave your name and number when you hear the sound of the tone? Sure… I knew you could.
  • Kemosabe no in tipi now. You leave’um message after little smoke signal, and Kemosabe get back for pow-wow real fast.
  • Hello, this is Rip van Winkle. I’m not awake to take your call right now. Please leave your message at the sound of the snore.
  • Hi, you’ve reached 1-900-CALL-BREN, my personal message line where you can talk to me, Bren. I’ll tell you all about how I’m suffering in between sports seasons and about my part time hobby of being a power forward for the Portland Trailblazers. I’ll tell my deepest secrets, such as my desire to be kidnapped by short blonde sorority girls wearing short jean skirts, and you can decide whether or not I’m wearing pants. Selected callers will get to talk to me live. Since you’re not one of them, leave your own personal secret at the beep.
  • This is Dr. Ruth, Sexually Speaking, you’re on the air…
  • (In a bored voice) Heaven, God speaking…
  • Hello, epicenter of the Universe, God speaking. If you leave your name, number, and prayer after the tone, I will call you back as soon as I can. Please note that I answer all prayers, but sometimes the answer is NO. Bless you, my child, and have a nice day.
  • Lucifer speaking. Who in hell do you want?
  • Hello, this is Death. I am not in right now, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll be right with you.
  • E’llo. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Leave your name and number, and prepare to die.

Odd Organizations

  • Thanks for calling Dial-An-Asshole. Right now, all our assholes are busy. After the tone, leave your name and number, and we’ll have an asshole return your call as soon as possible.
  • This is the Literacy Self Test Hotline. After the tone, leave your name and number, and recite a sentence using today’s vocabulary word. Today’s word is “supercilious”.
  • Thank you for calling the Confessional Hotline. Father Durway’s not here right now, but if you’ll leave your name, number, and confession at the tone, he’ll get back to you with absolution as soon as possible. And remember, confession doesn’t count unless you confess all of your sins in vivid, graphic detail!
  • Thank you for calling the Metropolitan Church of the Holy Bible. Today’s commandment is Number 6, Thou shalt not… er… Bear a… er… Shalt not witness thy… uh… Neighbor’s ass, Oh, I mean, false… er… Shalt not commit a bear… Dern…
  • (Gregorian chants in background; serene voice) Hello, Brother or Sister. You have reached the Cubicles of Curtis, Chris, and Jim. We are at Vespers and therefore answering other calls, but if you will leave your name, number, and a brief message, we will consider breaking our vow of silence to return your call. Please speak loudly, clearly, and in tongues.
  • Thank you for calling the Satanic Hotline. All of our operators are busy at the moment. If you would like, leave a brief message after the tone, and someone will get back to you… When hell freezes over.
  • (To scare off annoying liberals) Hello, and thank you for calling the Bush in 50 Campaign. Your five dollar donation to get George Bush re-elected in all 50 states will automatically be charged to your phone bill. If you would like to leave a message…
  • You have reached the Suicide Prevention Hotline. All our lines are busy now, but if you leave your name and number, someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Greetings, you have reached the Sixth Sense Detective Agency. We know how you are and what you want, so at the sound of the tone, please hang up.
  • Thank you for calling Uncle Tom’s Mortuary and Delicatessen. You stab ‘em and we slab ‘em. We have specials on Mondays and Thursdays. We are currently unable to come to the phone, but if you leave your number and address at the tone, we’ll be by to pick up the corpse as soon as possible.
  • (Demented, screechy voice; occasional background screams) Hello. Thank you for calling Last Straw Chiropractic. (Raspy gasp.) We can’t come to the phone right now because we’re making a couple of adjustments. (Break a few small twigs; big scream.) Please leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you as soon as it is humanly possible. Thank you very much.
  • (Stoned, slow voice) Hey brother, you have reached the Narcotics Information Hotline. None of us can answer the phone right now, ’cause we’re trying to decide if it exists. Leave a message.
  • Comrades! Southwestern Front Headquarters is pleased to learn that your unit has re-established communications. The entire staff is currently busy discussing forthcoming operations with other units, but if you leave your unit name and how we may reach you, Chief of Staff Sterrett will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.
  • (French monologue in the background) Around the world today, millions still speak French as either a first or second language. But with your continued support and help, we can wipe out French in our lifetime. Please leave a message in English at the tone, and remember, if someone tries to speak French to you, just say, “non”.
  • Thank you for phoning the Save the Sasquatch Hotline. Our operators do not exist at the moment, but if you wish to make a contribution, please leave your name, number, and the amount of your bequest at the sound of the beep, and something will get back to you shortly. Your help will enable us to bring these delightful creatures back from the brink of fantasy and find them suitable positions in the forest product industry. Your gift is, of course, reality deductible. Thank you again, and have a nice day.
  • Hello! This is 1-800-PRESLEY. Yes! 1-800-PRESLEY! They say the King died 10 years ago, but we know he’s still out there somewhere. So… Leave your name and number and tell us where YOU saw Elvis!
  • Hi, dudes, this is 229-3053, the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles’ secret underground hideaway. I’m afraid we’re all out just now on a desperate mission to save the Planet from boring answering machine messages, but if you know what The Shredder has done to April O’Neill, or if you know where he is, or if you can think of a decent pizza recipe, just leave your name and number and we’ll ring you right back. But don’t say anything yet! Enemy agents may be listening. When the computer has checked they’re not eavesdropping, it will make a bleeping noise and you can speak freely.
  • Sherwood Forest. Which dear do you want?
  • Hello, this is KVKE, you’re on the air.
    (or)
    Hello, you’re caller number nine!
  • You are listening to 91.5 FM, KXQK. This is the Canadian Broadcorping Castration. I am your host, Fred, and I will be with you for the next 20 seconds. After that we’ll play your requests. Leave yours with us, and we’ll try to fit it in, given programming constraints. Thank you for listening to our show.
  • Next on Public Radio 91 we’ll be hearing music of Antonin Dvorak. This is the Beep Serenade in C-Sharp Minor, Opus 72…
  • This is a test. This is a test of the Answering Machine Broadcast System. This is only a test.
  • Thanks for calling Dial-A-Shrink. I can’t come to the phone right now, so after the tone, please leave your name and number, then talk briefly about your childhood and tell me what comes to mind when you hear the following words: orange… mother… unicorn… penis. I’ll get back to you with my diagnosis as soon as possible.
  • (Operatic music like Rossini’s “Stabbat Matter”) Hi, you’ve reached Hell. (Screams in the background.) We’re busy being cleaned by the light of eternal truth right now, so if you leave your name, number, and a brief message, we’ll get back to you at the end of time.
  • (Sultry female voice) Welcome to Susan’s Message Parlor of Delights. We would be delighted if you would leave your name, number, and of course a message that doesn’t rub us the wrong way…
  • Greetings. You’ve reached Ghengis Kahn’s Pornographic Films Unlimited. Fabian, Pat, Rex and Mike are still conducting screen tests with potential leading ladies to star opposite the late John Holmes in our upcoming feature film, “It’s Not the Size That Counts but Whether or Not You’re Alive to Use It.” If you’re interested in a screen test, or even if you’re not, please leave us your name, age, phone number, measurements, cup size, a brief summary of your work experience, both off and on the screen, and a brief summary of your favorite fantasy involving four men, a pair of handcuffs, and a tub of Cool Whip. Thank you for calling.
  • You’ve reached the B&D Hotline. All our operators are tied up right now, so if you leave a name, number, a list of transgressions, and bark like a dog, we’ll get right back to you with your penance.
  • (In the background can be heard springs creaking and various moans; husky, soft female voice is best) Hi… You’ve just reached Sharon’s Pleasure Palace. We’re all busy as I’m sure you can tell, but when we’re done… we’ll get back to you in whatever way we can.
  • Thank you for calling Robert’s House of Love. All of our customer service representatives are, er… busy servicing customers, so at the sound of the erotic tone, leave your name, number, and a short description of whatever turns you on…

Mainly Musical Theme

  • (Sung to the tune of “Ride of the Valkyries”) Leave a message… Leave a message…
  • (To the tune of “Heartbreak Hotel” with appropriate music) I just left home baby, I’ll be out fer a spell, and if you don’t leave a message baby, you can go to BEEP.
  • (Pink Floyd’s “Nobody Home”) You have reached 587-8783. Please leave a message. (“Ohhhhhhhhh, babe… When I pick up the phone… There’s still… Nobody home.”)
  • (Jimmy Buffett’s “This Hotel Room:”) “I ain’t home, I ain’t home, you better leave a message ’cause I ain’t home.”
  • (To the tune of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana) Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, No one’s here, No one’s home, Leave a message, At the tone. Don’t feel stupid, Its no big fuss, Leave a message, You can reach us.
  • Hello, this is the Computer Music Research Institute of Portland, Oregon. We can’t take your call at the moment, but we would like you to leave a critique of one of our current works in progress. BEEP.
  • (Theme from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in the background) You’ve reached the residence of John and Tom. We can’t come to the phone right now, because we’re cleaning the refrigerator. Please leave your name and number, and we’ll get back to you.

Family Fun

  • Hello, this is the Brown residence. We’re in the middle of a family fight right now. Leave your name and number at the beep and whoever wins will call you right back.
  • Steve: Hello. Steve and Matt aren’t here right now, but if…
    Matt: Steve, what are you doing?
    Steve: I’m leaving a phone message since we aren’t here.
    Matt: But you left the last one—it’s my turn.
    Steve: No, I’m sure it’s my turn.
    Matt: No, you’re wrong. It’s definitely my turn.
    Steve: You fool, I know it’s… Wait… Matt… What are you doing with that frying pan? (BONK… THUD)
    Matt: Steve is out right now, so please leave your name and number.(or)
    1: Hi, you’ve reached Bob and Faisal’s room.
    2: (Background) What are you doing?
    1: I’m recording an answering machine message.
    2: But we’re here right now.
    1: But we might not be here later.
    2: Oh. (To phone) Leave a message.
  • This is Fred. We are not… excuse me a moment, please. Put your sister down. PUT YOUR SISTER DOWN! (Sound of window breaking.) Great! What a mess. I’ll have to get back to you later.
  • Hello. I can’t come to the phone now because—HEY, GEORGE! DON’T STAND ON THAT! …Goddamn… Because I’ve invited George and Barbara Bush over… (Loud music cuts in) BARBARA! HEY! DON’T FUCK WITH THAT! …Over for dinner. After the tone… BARBARA, CALL YOUR DOG… MILLIE! DOWN GIRL! …Shit… Leave a message after the tone…
  • (Whole family crowds around, including screaming babies and noisy pets; to the tune of “Frere Jacques”) We’re not here now, We’re not here now, Don’t hang up, Don’t hang up, Leave your name and number, Leave your name and number, We’ll call back, We’ll call back.
  • Hi!! You’ve reached Janet and Chris’s room. We’re not in right now. If this is our parents, we’re at the library studying. Yeah, yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket. If this is John, Chris is out with the girls at the party. Yeah, that’s it. If this is any one else, we’re at a party and you’re not. Yeah, a party with the president. Yeah and the… Pope. Yeah that’s it.
  • (Loud sounds of a massive battle; calm voice) Hello! Due to the breakdown in the 452nd truce, the inhabitants of village 286-3589 are cowering in their bomb shelters. However, if you leave your name, number, and a message, any survivors will get back to you when the 453rd truce begins.
  • My wife and I can’t come to the phone right now, but if you’ll leave your name and number, we’ll get back to you as soon as we’re finished.
  • Hello, you’ve reached Jim and Sonya. We can’t pick up the phone right now, because we’re doing something we really enjoy. Sonya likes doing it up and down, and I like doing it left to right… real slowly. So leave a message, and when we’re done brushing our teeth we’ll get back to you.
  • Please leave your name, phone number, the time you called, and your favorite color of underwear. We’ll get back to you if we like the color.
  • (Woman, seductively) Hi, I’m Linda. You know, it can be really lonely when you’re a fashion model. Sometimes I just have to… (Interrupting) Oh come on Linda, give me the damn phone… (Ask them to leave a message.)
  • Oooooommmmmmmmmmm… (Heavy panting and breathing in the background), Oh! Sorry, I can’t come (Oh! Yes! Do it to me) to the (Oh!) phone right now (pant pant), leave your name and number at the (scream, I’m gonna come!) orgasm.
  • (Sexy, slow female voice) oooOOOO, Greg’s in… OOOOooo, Greg’s out… ooooOOOOO, Greg’s in… OOOoooo, Greg’s out… ooooOOOOO, Greg’s in… Humph, Greg’s busy, you had better call back later…

Can’t Answer Right Now Because…

  • Dear Caller: As I’m leaving you this message, the sun is shining for a change. Little children are cavorting in the park, and their tasty mothers and teenage sisters are sunbathing practically nude. So, did you really think I was going to stick around this dump?
  • Hello, and welcome to Answering Machines of the Rich and Famous! Sam can’t come to the phone right now because he’s spending the week in his beautiful summer home on the French Riviera.
  • (Automatic gunfire, explosions, rockets, jets; agitated voice) I’m pinned down and can’t come to the phone right now, and Bob’s handling supporting fire! Leave your name and number, and a message! We’ll get back to you as soon… FIRE IN THE HOLE! (BOOM!) We’ll get back to you as soon as the air cover napalms the place!
  • (Frantic violin music) Hello. You have reached 435-3949. We are currently unable to answer because we are either chasing, or being chased by, bats. Please leave a message.
  • (In a good Australian accent) G’day mate. Can’t come to the phone now because I’m a bit tied up with this crocodile. Just leave a message, and I’ll get back to you.
  • Hello. I’m home right now but cannot find the phone. Please leave a message and I will call you up as soon as I find it.
  • You have reached 843-4734. Please hold while I process your call. (Pause.) Our extremely sophisticated computer system performed a trace on your number and was able to match it with our list of important callers. None of our staff is authorized to speak with you except for Fred, who is not here right now. Please leave your name phone number and a brief message at the tone. Thank you for calling and have a nice day.
  • I can’t come to the phone now because I have amnesia and I feel stupid talking to people I don’t remember. I’d appreciate it if you could help me out by leaving my name and telling me something about myself. Thanks.
  • I can’t come to the phone now, so if, well, actually, I CAN come to the phone now, I mean, like, I’m at the phone NOW, recording this message, but I’m doing this NOW, while you’re listening to it LATER, except for you I guess it’s NOW, like, when you’re listening to it… I mean, like, wait, gosh. This is so confusing.
  • I can’t come to the phone now because alien beings are eating my brain. Leave a message anyway, and after the alien beings assume my shape, one of them will get back to you.
  • I’m unable to take your call in person because I’m having an out-of-the-body experience. In fact I’m standing right behind you and I can hear everything you say. But leave me a message anyway to help me reconnect when I get back.
  • Steve is reassembling Elvis’ brain and can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name…
  • If this were the best of all possible worlds, I could come to the phone right now, but I can’t, so if you could leave your name and number…
  • Hi, this is Jim. Sorry I can’t take your call but I’m playing my guitar too loud to hear the phone ring. Please leave me a message and I’ll call you back at the end of Van Halen-1.
  • Hi! I can’t answer the phone right now. Bob, that’s my pet parakeet, just swallowed a cherry bomb. It wasn’t lit, but I’ve got to get him to the bathroom. Uh-oh! (Sound of a paper bag exploding.)
  • Hello, I’m not here right now. In fact, I’m out getting a new parakeet. If you leave a message after the beep, I’ll be sure to get back to you. Oh, and by the way, a word of advice; never try to clean a parakeet cage with a vacuum cleaner.
  • I can’t come to the phone right now because I’m down in the basement printing up a fresh new batch of twenty dollar bills. If you need any money, or if you just want to check out my handiwork, please leave your name, number, and how much cash you need after the tone. If you’re from the Department of the Treasury, please ignore this message.
  • Hi. This is John. If you are the phone company, I already sent the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my financial aid institution, you didn’t lend me enough money. If you are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don’t worry, I have plenty of money.
  • We can’t get to the phone right now because we were killed in the earthquake. Tragic, isn’t it? But, leave a message anyway, someone is sure to get it eventually.
  • Hi. This is David. I’ve shut the ringers off on my phones and taken a sedative. As soon as I finish this recording I’m going to bed indefinitely. When I wake up I’ll play my messages. Please leave one.
  • (Narrator’s voice) There Dale sits, reading a magazine. Suddenly the telephone rings! The bathroom explodes into a veritable maelstrom of toilet paper, with Dale in the middle of it, his arms windmilling at incredible speeds! Will he make it in time? Alas no, his valiant effort is in vain. The bell hath sounded. Thou must leave a message.
  • We’re not in cause we’re out LOOTING! Leave a message and we’ll call you back and tell you what we got.
  • (Theme music and voice from Alfred Hitchcock Presents) Good evening. I’m sorry, but Steve can’t come to the phone now, as he’s quite tied up. (Sounds of struggle in background, and voice heard through a gag.) I should know. I tied him up. But leave your name and number, and he’ll return your call if he manages to get free. And speaking of things that are not free, we now have this word from our sponsor…
  • (Thug voice) Uh, hello, Mike and Brian aren’t here right now. They’ve been kidnapped! So at the beep, leave your name, your number, your message, and ten thousand dollars in a brown paper bag.
  • Hi. I’m probably home, I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.
    (or)
    Hi there. This is Joe speaking. I’m home right now, and in a moment, I’ll have a decision to make. Leave your name and number and I’ll be thinking about it…
    (or)
    Bob here. I’m home right now, I’m just screening my calls. So start talking and if you’re someone I want to speak with I’ll pick up the phone. Otherwise, well, what can I say?
  • (Fun to leave on a friend’s machine when he’s away… Sounds of raptuous sex) Hi. Mike can’t come to the phone right now because he’s having sex. If you leave your name and number, he’ll get back with you in juuust a second. (Male groan; female voice) That’s it?

You’re in Big Trouble

  • Hello! I’m on a four state killing spree! WATTA YA WANT?
    (or)
    Hi, I’m not home because I’ve gone on a BLOODY RAMPAGE! When I get home, and CLEAN OFF THE BLOOD, I’ll be sure to give you a call. If I haven’t ALREADY COME OVER, that is. (Coughing loony laughter.)
  • (Italian Mafia-style voice) I can’t come to the phone right now. Me and Guido are trying to stuff a body in the trunk. I think we’re going to have to size it a little… (Aside) HEY GUIDO! GET THE CHAINSAW! Anyways, leave your name and a message. If I like it, you’ll hear from me. If not, you’ll hear from Guido! (Laughter.)
  • (Sinister organ music) Hello, you have reached the Brown residence. You now have two choices. Number one, you may leave a message. (Angelic “Hallelujah!”) Or number two, suffer eternal damnation. (Horrid death scream.) You decide.
  • The machine answering this message is connected to a 5000 volt power supply, and a relay which is wired to this small kitten. (Sound of a kitten meowing.) If you hang up before you leave a message, it will complete the circuit and fry the kitty. The choice is YOURS!
  • Leave a message or I’ll send 30,000 volts through your phone. I am an electrical engineer. I can do that.
  • Being reincarnated as an answering machine is the pits. Keep your karma clean by leaving your name, number, message, and the time that you called.
  • This is Dan Cassidy’s answering machine. Please leave your name and number, and after I’ve doctored the tape, your message will implicate you in a federal crime and be brought to the attention of the FBI.
  • You have reached the CPX-2000 Voice Blackmail System. Your voice patterns are now being digitally encoded and stored for later use. Once this is done, our computers will be able to use the sound of YOUR voice for literally thousands of illegal and immoral purposes. There is no charge for this initial consultation. However our staff of professional extortionists will contact you in the near future to further explain the benefits of our service, and to arrange for your schedule of payment. Remember to speak clearly at the sound of the tone. Thank you.
  • Please leave a message. However, you have the right to remain silent. Everything you say will be recorded and will be used by us.
  • Shhh! Don’t talk, just listen! Meet me at the corner of Broad and Main and bring the girl. (CLICK)
  • After the tone, leave your name, number, and tell where you left the money. I’ll get back to you as soon as it’s safe for you to come out of hiding.
  • My time is billed at $125 per hour. Please begin your message with your MasterCard or Visa number, card type, and date of expiration. I’ll get back to you pending credit approval. Hi, this is Jim. Welcome to my Fun Phone Line, where you can talk to my answering machine for only $0.95 per minute! Please leave your credit card number at the tone…

Befuddle the Caller

  • (A busy signal.) — Steven Wright
  • (Recorded directly from the phone company ) We’re sorry, but the number you dialed is disconnected or no longer in service.
  • The number you have reached, 226-0477, has been changed. The new number is 226-0477. (Yes, same number.) Please make a note of it.
  • The party you dialed is not available. Your call is being diverted to an alternate number. Please stand by… (Ring…) The number you dialed must be dialed by your 0 operator. (Click, beep, dial tone.)
  • Hello. (Pause.) Hello? (Pause.) Hello! (Pause.) No, it doesn’t look as if I’m in right now. Maybe you should leave a message or call me back later.
  • Hello. All of our operators are busy right now, but if you’ll leave your name, telephone number, a brief message, and the time you called, we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you and have a pleasant day. (This can dissuade prank and sales callers who don’t know it’s really a private line.)
  • Creamed asparagus! BEEP
  • Hello, you have reached dial an unpopular luncheon meat, I am pimento loaf, leave me a message.
  • Thank you for calling the CSU Automated Hearing Test Line. Prepare for Test 1. Is this tone louder in your left ear or right ear? … BEEP
  • All our answering machines are busy. Please hold. (Pause.) All our answering machines are… (CLICK) This is the answering machine of…
  • (Pick up the phone and say) This is Chris. I’m not here right now. Leave me a message. BEEP. (Then listen.)
  • This is Chris. John and Mike aren’t here right now, but if you leave a message, they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.
  • Hello, this is David. I don’t live here, so if you were trying to call me, you’ve dialed the wrong number. On the other hand, if you were trying to call John, Jim, or Eric, please leave your name and number at the tone. I don’t guarantee that one of them will call you back—only that I won’t.
  • I just got a car phone. I’m not here at the moment. Leave me a message and I’ll call you when I’m out.
  • This is Jeff, you’re not in now, so I’ll leave a message.
  • Hi, can I speak to Mark?… Oh, there isn’t?… I’m sorry, I must have dialed the wrong number.
  • Wrong number? No sweat, I was going to pick up the phone anyway.
  • (Deadpan voice) Hi, This is Dave. Please leave a message as soon as possible and I’ll get back to you at the sound of the tone.
  • Hi, this is George. I’m sorry I can’t answer the phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by your phone until I call you back.
  • Hello, this is Ron. I’m not home right now, but I can take a message. Hang on a second while I get a pencil. (Open a drawer and shuffle stuff around.) OK, what would you like me to tell me?
  • You’ve reached Mike and Nancy’s answering machine. They’re not home right now. At least, I don’t think they are. Hang on. (Voice moves away from recording microphone.) Mike? Nancy? (Voice comes back.) Nope, they’re not here, so at the beep…
  • This is Anthony. Leave me a message at the beep. (beep) Whoops, I bet you couldn’t hear that. Lemme try again. (Beep) Nuts, once more with feeling…
  • (On a male’s answering machine, otherwise reverse genders) BEEP. (Female voice) Hi Tony, this is Sheila. I can’t stop thinking about you. When can we get together? I want to grab you and undress you and then BEEP
  • We’re sorry. You have reached an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again.
  • Hi, you’ve reached 340-2359. We’re not peeb eht retfa egassem ruoy evael esaelp os, won thgir emoh. gnillac rof uoy knaht.
  • Ahhhhhhhhh… ahhhhhhhhhh… (Heavy breathing sounds, like an obscene phone call.) Oh, nuts, YOU called ME! Sorry. Never mind. Leave your name and number at the beep.
  • Hello… Yes, I’d like to order two medium pepperoni pizzas please, with extra cheese… Oh, did I get the wrong number? Sorry about that. (Click.)
  • (And here’s a way to befuddle the *caller* rather than the caller: Record someone’s answering machine message as you hear it, and then play it back to them as your message to them. Repeat over time until something interesting happens.)
  • (Another way to befuddle the caller; leave a message like this: “Hello. This is a message for, message for, message for, message for,” and then hang up.)

Other Play With the Caller

  • OK, one more time… This is our answering machine… This is the message on our answering machine… Any questions?
  • (Classical music) This is our answering machine. (Switch to heavy metal racket) This is our answering machine on drugs. (Silence…) Any message?
  • Thank you for reaching out to us. Nobody is home now. However, if you leave a message, we’ll reach out and touch you.
  • Hi, I am Chevy Chase’s answering machine and you’re NOT.
  • Hello, this is your local zoo. Do you like animals? We are experiencing severe problems with hot water. Would you be so kind as to allow us to bring our elephants over to your bathroom for a shower? (The most common response: “Well, sure, but my neighbor’s bathroom is bigger and better equipped to handle elephants.”)
  • You’re growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You feel very sleepy now. You are gradually losing your willpower and your ability to resist suggestions. When you hear the tone you will feel helplessly compelled to leave your name, number, and a message.
  • As the drugs take hold, you feel you are losing your grip on reality. You begin to hallucinate. You see a telephone… The telephone is next to an answering machine… You hear a faint click and a light flashes on the answering machine… You hear a beep…
  • This answering machine message is for all you psychics out there… (Long silence…) BEEP
  • Hello, this is Jason’s voice. Jason’s not here right now — hey, haven’t you ever lost YOUR voice? Well, believe you me, when I find him again, I’ll have a few choice words for him. If you do too, leave them after the beep.
  • I don’t exist at the moment, but if you leave your message, name and number, I’ll call you back when I am…
    (or)
    I’m only here in spirit at the moment, but if you’ll leave your name and number, I will get back to you as soon as I’m here in person.
  • I don’t want to bore you with metaphysics, but how do you know this is an answering machine? Maybe it’s a dream, or maybe it’s an illusion, or maybe YOU don’t really exist. One way to find out is to leave a message, and if it’s reality, I will call you back.
  • (With strong east Indian accent) Hello, you have reached the existential hotline of Ransheesh. I am currently meditating, but if you leave your name and which lifeline you are currently inhabiting at the sound of the Om, I will send good karma waves and contact you when the stars align properly.
  • Hi, this is Ed. I’m secretly replacing Faisal and Bob with dark sparkling Folger’s Crystals. Leave your name, number, and a brief message and they’ll call you back when they’re nice and percolated. See if you can tell the difference.
  • Elleuw, Eenspector, ahem, CHIEF Eenspector Clewseau ees not een the rheum to answer the pheuwne at the meument, so stop acteeng lahk a minkey, you FUEWL, and leave a mesSAGE… (Oriental voice) Excuse me, Inspectah Clouseau, I just received special derively for you, here sir… Ah, thank you, Kato. How naice eet ees to have people send you a pretty leetle beuhmb for a birthday present, and eet ees not even my birth—a BEUHMB? It’s a beuhmb!!! (Muffled explosion.)
  • Concatenation of events preclude our coming to the phone. Please speak freely, with magniloquence upon occasion of the tone.
  • Andy Warhol said that one day everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Well, your 15 minutes was last week, but since you weren’t ready, we gave it to Vanna White. Sorry.
  • (Noble, aristocratic voice) Yes, one million dollars COULD be yours, IF you leave your name, telephone number, and the reason WHY you want to join the ranks of The Rich and Famous! If this is Ross Perot, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, or Princess Di, just leave your VISA number and expiration date, and we will definitely get back to you!
  • (Annoying radio announcer’s voice) Congratulations! You have reached 555-1234, perhaps one of the most obnoxious answering machine messages in the greater Seattle area! If you don’t know who you are dialing, HA! If you DO know who you are dialing, you were probably expecting something like this!
  • (Oriental voice) Hello, you have reached honorable Chan’s residence. I, Kato, will go and get honorable Chan. (Godzilla scream.) Oh no! Godzilla coming! Please leave name and number at gong and Chan will call back if house still here.
  • I’m not at home today, and I might not be home tomorrow. So please leave a message after the tone. I didn’t take a shower today, and I might not take one tomorrow. So if you don’t leave a message after the tone, you might have to deal with me in person.
  • This is Alan. Leave me a message and tell me what I can do to… I mean, do FOR you.
  • (Noisy pick-up of phone.) Hi, I’m a burglar and I was just about to steal Troy’s answering machine. If you give me your name and number I’ll… Uh, I’ll post it on the fridge where he’ll see it. Uh… By the way, where did you say you live?
  • If you are a burglar, then we’re probably at home cleaning our weapons right now and can’t come to the phone. Otherwise, we probably aren’t at home and it’s safe to leave us a message.
  • I’m writing the definitive work on pain. I would like you to tell me how this machine makes you feel. Remember, be honest. This is for posterity.
  • (Loud heavy-metal music in background; raspy voice) Hello, this is the executioner. Joe can’t come to the phone right now because he’s DEAD! Leave a name and number and IF we decide to resurrect him, he’ll call you back.
    (or)
    Tim’s dead! And God only knows where Lisa is! Fortunately resurrections and divine revelations do tend to occur from time to time, so leave a message and we’ll let you know when the next miracle occurs.
  • Random fact number 10: The first manned mission to Jupiter will be crewed by the Smiths. Random fact number 64: Dairy Queen discovered cold temperature fusion before the bums in Utah. Random fact number 36: Bren’s not here and he wants you leave a message. Random fact number 22: Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota.
  • In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife. (Heeeeee-YAH! Sound of smashing box of Kleenex.) But this method doesn’t work with a telephone call… (Dial tone.) Introducing the all-new Ginsu answering machine! It cuts, it chops, it slices, it dices your incoming calls! How much would you pay? Don’t answer, because if you leave your name and number when you hear the tone, we’ll throw in a return phone call ABSOLUTELY FREE!
  • Hi, this is Jim. Thanks for calling during my spring pledge drive. A basic membership is only $30, and a $60 pledge gets you an “I love Jim Shea” T-shirt. Please wait for the tone, and thank you for your pledge.
  • (Drunken voice) You have reached Bob’s hotline. We are not able to respond due to uninevitable circumcisions. But if you leave your name and number, we won’t be in wonder… pa-a-a-a!
  • Hello, this is Marlin’s answering machine reminding you that yesterday was the last day of the previous period of your life. After the beep you can tell me how it was, or leave some other, informative message. Thanks.
  • (Jack Webb voice) This is the city. Lambertville, New Jersey. I work here. I carry a tune. I was changing my name to protect my innocence when I got a call about a 411. It sounded like good information to me. But I needed more. A name and a number. So leave yours and I’ll return your call. Or I can send you a FAX. Nothing but the FAX, ma’am. (Hum the “Dragnet” theme…)
  • Knock, knock. (Pause. Caller thinks, “Who’s there?”) Isn’t that *my* question? (Pause.) Please leave a message…
  • Yo. I ain’t here at the moment. Leave a message at that silly beep and I’ll get back… (Sniff, sniff…) Hey, what are you cooking? It smells good.
  • I can’t come to the phone now, so… Hey—that’s a nice phone you have there. Hey sugar, you call this number often? I bet you have answering machines bothering you all the time… Yes indeedy. Why don’t you give me a call sometime and we can listen to some old recordings… I might even play my beep for you.
  • (Ominous electronic background music) In honor of Halloween, I’m about to perform an unspeakable pagan ritual. So please leave a message. Unless you’re a virgin, in which case, why don’t you stop by? SINT MIHI DEI ACHERONTIS PROPITII…

Science Fiction

  • Bridge, Kirk here.
  • Starship Enterprise, Uhura here, can you hold please? — Captain, there is a transmission coming in on hailing frequency seven, do you want it on screen?
  • (Star Trek theme in the background)
    (Voice 1) Room 17, the final frontier.
    (Voice 2) These are the messages of Chad’s answering machine. Its two semester mission: To seek out your name and your telephone number.
    (Voice 3) To boldly inform you to wait for the tone.
  • WE ARE BORG. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. But we’re not home right now. So leave a message at the tone, and we’ll assimilate you later.
  • Hello, you’ve reached 344-1312, the Apartment at the End of the Universe. Please leave your message, name and number at the sound of the tone. Keep your hands, feet, extremities, and obscenities inside the car at all times. Enjoy your ride.
  • (Darth Vader voice) Speak, worm!
  • Alpha Centauri Space Station. Commander Marlin can’t come to the phone right now. He’s either saving the universe from some dread, unnamed peril, or perhaps taking a nappie. Leave your name and number after the beep and he will return your call.
  • A bubble in the space-time continuum has connected your line to a channel in the 23rd century. Any message you leave will be broadcast into the future.
  • You have reached the offices of the planet Zarton. All our agents are busy undermining the governments of the Earth and cannot come to phone at the moment. However, your name and number can be left at the tone and a representative will gladly contact you shortly to arrange for your assimilation into the new order. Long groblint the ultimate blenstron.
  • Steve has been captured by a flying saucer and can’t come to the phone right now, but if you leave your name, phone number, and a message, I’ll have him call you back as soon as he gets away. Read all about it in next week’s National Enquirer.
  • Hello, this is Jim. Unfortunately I can’t answer the phone right now because I’ve just come back from the Mirror Worlds and I’m still made up of antimatter, so if I were to pick up the phone right now, the resulting energy release would make Hiroshima look like a wet firecracker. So leave a message at the tone and I’ll get back to you as soon as my component particles have been restored to their normal charges.

Brevity

  • (Like a sheep) Baaaaaaa.
  • I’m gone.
  • (Klingon voice) ANSWERING MACHINE. SPEAK.
  • This is David. Talk to me.
  • You have reached 555-6238. Why?
  • This is you-know who. We are you-know-where. Leave your you-know-what you-know-when.
  • You have reached 234-1243. This is an answering machine. This is the nineties. You know what to do.
  • You have reached the number you have dialed. Please leave a message after the beep.
  • This is a boring answering machine message. Leave a message anyway. (Useful to keep people from calling at odd hours to hear your latest exciting message.)
  • (Classical music in background, slow stoned voice) Don’t you ever wonder what life would be like? …

Miscellaneous

  • (For Shakespeare lovers only)
    So long as phones can ring and eyes can see,
    So leave a message, and I’ll get back to thee.
  • I am not home to talk to you,
    But please don’t be a creep.
    Just leave your name and number,
    At the sound of the…
  • This is 234-3249, and no, it’s not Pete’s Pizzeria. It’s not the Credit Union either, and no one named Pam lives here. You can leave a message though.
  • Hi. Do you ever feel, like, your head is full of sand, not your regular loose sand mind you, but compacted sand, and there were like, I dunno, bugs or something jumping up and down on the compacted sand? Well, sometimes I do. Bye.
  • Bullwinkle: Hey, Rocky, somebody called while we weren’t home. Watch me pull their message out of this machine!
    Rocky: Again?
    Bullwinkle: Nuthin’ up my sleeve… PRESTO! (Sound of vicious dog barking, stops abruptly.)
    Bullwinkle: Must have been a wrong number.
    Rocky: Here’s a chance for you to REALLY leave your message.
  • (A friend was at a mutual friend’s sister’s house, and when she went out for beer, he changed her answering machine message. In a loud, deep, gravelly, horror-film voice he recorded) Hi, this is Kathy. I’m not myself right now. If you leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you when I’m feeling better.

Farewell

  • These words are lovely dark and deep
    But I’ve got promises to keep
    and miles to go before I sleep
    So leave a message at the beep.
  • Now I lay me down to sleep;
    Leave a message at the beep.
    If I die before I wake,
    Remember to erase the tape.

Post-Scriptum

I’ve assembled this list in mid-nineties from the messages that people were emailing around. As far as I know, the author of this list is unknown.

Updated

About the Author

Lenny is a business and tech leader with extensive experience in information technology and security. His areas of expertise include incident response, cloud services and product management. Lenny focuses on safeguarding customers' IT operations at NCR Corporation. He also teaches digital forensics and anti-malware courses at SANS Institute. Lenny frequently speaks at conferences, writes articles and has co-authored books. He has earned the prestigious GIAC Security Expert designation, has an MBA from MIT Sloan and a Computer Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

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