Straight man (stock character)

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The straight man is a stock character in a comedy performance, especially a double act, sketch comedy, or farce.

When their comedy partner behaves eccentrically, the straight man's response ranges from aplomb to outrage, or from patience to frustration. They make their partner look all the more ridiculous by being completely serious. They will often also be found in sitcoms.

In Vaudeville, the straight man's name usually appeared first and he usually received 60% of the take. This helped take the sting out of not being the laugh-getter and helped ensure the straight man's loyalty to the team.[1]

In the manzai comedy of Japan, the straight man is called tsukkomi.



  1. ^ Nachman, Gerald (1998). Raised on Radio, p. 36. Pantheon Books, New York. ISBN 037540287x.
  2. ^ "TV: 10 All-Time Greatest". Entertainment Weekly. 
  3. ^ "Arrested Development Review". Entertainment Weekly. 
  4. ^ Hanno, Alex. "Four seasons in, ‘The League’ still scores big". TD Review. 

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