— Due to illness, today’s MS-QOTD (you know how it’s pronounced) re-presents a Classic query

from the distant summer of 2012.  It’s cool, though, ’cause no one responded the first time.
Next up: my review of the new issue of ‘The Adventures Of Jerry Lewis.’ —

 

The (no-longer-so-very) recent return of Metalocalypse has re-instilled my great admiration for Charles Foster Ofdensen, manager of the world’s most successful band, Dethklok.  Possessed of clarity of wit, iron-clad sense of purpose and excessive levels of badass (One word: “Renovationklok.”  And, yes, I am aware that’s not an actual word.) Ofdensen remains unflappable, even in the face of his charges complete lack of restraint, empathy or basic cognitive function.  In the great comic tradition, Charles serves as the perfect combination of majordomo and deadpan snarker, while always serving his client’s best interests, whether they understand it or not, and is a perfect example of the classic ‘only sane man’ archetype (kind of like Rodrigo on most of our podcasts, now that I think of it.)  This, in turn, begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “Squiz-Garr”) comes in his honor: Who is the greatest comedic “straight man” of all time?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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11 Comments

  1. Jared
    October 12, 2013 at 11:39 am — Reply

    I’m going to go with Jackie Chan. In each of his movies, namely Rush hour he is a great straight man and a perfect co start with Chris Tucker. The bantering from Tucker and only gets the response of a quick smile is wonderful.

  2. October 12, 2013 at 11:49 am — Reply

    I’m going to go a different direction with this. Ron MacLean as the straight man to Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada. He’s constantly having to downplay, clarify, and iron out the crazy, xenophobic, ‘old man yells at clouds’ bullshit that comes out of Don’s mouth. It’s funny… But not ‘ha ha’ funny.

  3. October 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm — Reply

    Alice Kramden. Everyone pales in comparison. She could shut down Ralph and Ed with a comment. Ralph feared the love of his life and showed that they were equals in the 50’s. She was the housewife, but the one that was tough as nails and shouldn’t be messed with while also having a tender side when she and her husband were alone.
    He first real copy of Wilma Flintstone was still far away from the ability of Alice to play it straight and often fell into the trope of “common houswife”. She was the original sarcastic straight woman that Rosannet Barr tried to be as well as many other TV wives who have foolish husbands.
    Audrey Meadows was also a beautiful woman who uglied herself up to get the role and tried to avoid the sexy angle.

  4. comicfan1974
    October 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm — Reply

    Dan Rowan

    • October 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm — Reply

      Gooooooooooooooood!!!

  5. October 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm — Reply

    Alfred Pennyworth.
    He understands the joke that is a grown man railing against the darkness better than anyone.
    :) That one is for you Stephen lol

  6. Frank
    October 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm — Reply

    Agreed.

  7. Frank
    October 12, 2013 at 8:03 pm — Reply

    The “Agreed” was for “Alice Kramden”. My browser did not insert it after Slappy’s comment.
    George Burns was the perfect straightman to Gracie Allen.
    Bing Crosby to Bob Hope
    Bud Abbot to Lou Costello

  8. Daniel Langsdale
    October 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm — Reply

    Stephen Colbert — he’s his own straight man!

  9. Kirby
    October 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm — Reply

    Michael Bluth, all of the shenanigans that happen with the family, and all he needs is a dry comment, and he’s good to go.

  10. Oldcomicfan
    October 14, 2013 at 7:01 am — Reply

    Either one of the Smothers brothers – they were each the other’s straight man.

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