This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Deadpan or dry humor/wit describes the act of deliberately displaying a lack of or no emotion, commonly as a form of comedic delivery to contrast with the ridiculousness of the subject matter. The delivery is meant to be blunt, sarcastic, laconic, or apparently unintentional.
The term deadpan first emerged as an adjective or adverb in the 1920s, as a compound word combining "dead" and "pan" (a slang term for the face). The oldest usage recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary comes from The New York Times (1928), which defines the term as "playing a role with expressionless face". An example of this usage is in a scene from the 1934 film The Gay Bride in which a gangster tells a man on the other end of a phone conversation to "give it a dead pan" (with the emphasis on "pan"), so that the man does not inadvertently alert anyone else in the room as to the importance of what the gangster is about to say. The usage of deadpan as a verb ("to speak, act, or utter in a deadpan manner; to maintain a dead pan") is recorded at least as far back as 1942.
Early in his vaudeville days, Buster Keaton developed his deadpan expression. Keaton realized that audiences responded better to his stony expression than when he smiled, and he carried this style into his silent film career.
Many popular American sitcoms use deadpan expressions to deliver dry humor, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and My Name Is Earl. More recent examples are Andre Braugher as Captain Raymond Holt from the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jennette McCurdy as Sam Puckett in iCarly, and Louis C.K. in Louie. Another example is the often-philosophical comedy of Steven Wright.
Dry humor is often confused with highbrow or egghead humor, because the humor in dry humor does not exist in the words or delivery. Instead, the listener must look for humor in the contradiction between words, delivery and context. Failure to include the context or to identify the contradiction results in the listener finding the dry humor unfunny. However, the term "deadpan" itself actually refers only to the method of delivery.
Other deadpan comedians:
- Woody Allen
- Eve Arden
- Fred Armisen
- Beatrice Arthur
- Stuart Ashen
- Rowan Atkinson
- Dan Aykroyd
- Todd Barry
- Jason Bateman
- H. Jon Benjamin
- Jack Benny
- Lewis Black
- Jo Brand
- Jimmy Carr
- Chevy Chase
- John Cleese
- Stephen Colbert
- Jane Curtin
- Larry David
- Jack Dee
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Zooey Deschanel
- Nathan Fielder
- Jim Gaffigan
- Jack Handey
- Steve Harvey
- Mitch Hedberg
- Dave Hughes
- Dom Joly
- Milton Jones
- Jonathan Katz
- Buster Keaton
- Craig Kilborn
- Stewart Lee
- Sean Lock
- Norm MacDonald
- Lee Mack
- Demetri Martin
- Paul Merton
- Dan Mintz
- Diane Morgan
- Bill Murray
- Leslie Nielsen
- Tig Notaro
- Virginia O'Brien
- Karl Pilkington
- Aubrey Plaza
- Romesh Ranganathan
- Peter Sellers
- Sarah Silverman
- Kevin Smith
- Ben Stein
- Jon Stewart
- Mike Stoklasa
- Tim & Eric
- Christopher Walken
- Steven Wright
|This list needs additional citations for verification. (December 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Styles within deadpan
Deadpan can vary in subtlety. Obvious deadpan uses a high amount of contrast either with characters or situations. It may also take the role of mirror to characters who are unaware of their folly. More subtle deadpan can test the observational limits of the audience and even play off the audience's awareness (and thus off the implied intelligence of the audience).
|Look up deadpan in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Rishel, Mary Ann (2002). Writing humor. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 166. ISBN 0-8143-2959-4.
- Oxford English Dictionary. "dead-pan, adj., n., adv., and v." Second edition, 1989; online version December 2011. accessed 17 February 2012. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972
- "Deadpan: the comedy of Buster Keaton". Telescope. CBC.ca. 17 April 1964. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Mendex, David (10 May 2012). "Deadpan Laughs". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Smith, Patrick (22 May 2013). "Jason Bateman interview: 'Arrested Development gave me a new life'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Dekel, Jon (8 January 2015). "H. Jon Benjamin's voice work sets the tone on Archer, the silly spy cartoon for adults that could". National Post. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Thompson, Ben (23 October 2011). "the interview JO BRAND, COMEDIAN, TALKS TO". The Independent. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Groskop, Vic (23 June 2012). "Jimmy Carr: Laughing on the other side of his face". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- "'Hello Nation!' Stephen Colbert Debuts On New 'The Late Show'". WCBS-TV. 9 September 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Cochran, Amanda (26 July 2013). ""Queen of Deadpan" Jane Curtin on old school "SNL"". CBS News. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Bassett, Kate (24 May 1997). "Mr Deadpan loosens up". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Wedel, Mark (15 April 2010). "Jim Gaffigan's deadpan humor to heat up Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium". Kalamazoo Gazette. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Mclaren, Leah (9 August 2013). "Jack Handey deploys drone strikes in the war against clichés". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Shakespeare, J. C. (19 February 1999). "Dude, It's Mitch Hedberg!". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Hogan, Jil (19 June 2014). "Dave Hughes in Canberra as part of Australia tour". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Barber, Nicholas (8 January 2014). "Deadpan but alive to the future: Buster Keaton the revolutionary". The Independent. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Lel, Richard (31 May 1997). "The Deadpan Zone". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Whelan, Edward (19 March 2010). "In Profile: Sean Lock". The Skinny. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Dionne, Zack (22 January 2010). "A Very Important Conversation with Demetri Martin". GQ. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Sims, David (14 October 2014). "The Deadpan Voice of the Moment". The Atlantic. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Bernstein, Jonathan (30 October 2015). "Will Bill Murray ever make another good movie?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Brown, Emma (29 November 2010). "Leslie Nielsen, serious actor who became a master of deadpan comedy, dies at 84". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Marantz, Andrew (7 November 2014). "Tig Notaro's Topless Set". The New Yorker.
- Feeney, Nolan (2 April 2015). "Aubrey Plaza on Life After Parks, Playing a Witch and Hating the Word 'Deadpan'". Time. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Tamplin, Harley (19 March 2015). "Review: Russell Kane, Romesh Ranganathan and Charlie Baker at Christ's Hospital". West Sussex County Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Anderson, Sam (10 November 2005). "Irony Maiden". Slate. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- "'Ferris Bueller's Ben Stein Sues Ad Agency & Client Claiming Political Discrimination". Deadline.com. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Leatherman, Benjamin (8 May 2012). "Comedian Steven Wright on His Deadpan Style, Getting Inspired By Salvador Dali, Working With Quentin Tarantino, and More". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 3 November 2015.