Friday, July 07, 2006

The Comedic Straight Man


My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
~Albert Einstein

We can recognize the dawn and the decline of love by the uneasiness we feel when alone
~Jean De La BruyFre


Charlie: They said you was hung.
Bart: And they was right.

Taggart: I got it. I got it.
Hedley Lamarr: You do?
Taggart: We'll work up a "Number 6" on 'em.
Hedley Lamarr: "Number 6"? I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that one...
Taggart: Well, that's where we go a-ridin' into town, a whampin' and whompin' every livin' thing that moves within an inch of its life. Except the women folks, of course.
Hedley Lamarr: You spare the women?
Taggart: NAW. We rape the shit out of them at the Number 6 Dance later on.
Hedley Lamarr: Marvelous.

1. Ride Wit Me ~TI
2. You Dropped The Bomb On Me ~The Gap Band
3. Is It Any Wonder ~Keane
4. Goodbye For Now ~POD
5. Sinner Man ~Peter Tosh
6. Ball And Chain ~Sublime


I've been wanting to write this post for a while.
Alot of poeple regard Dean Martin as the best straight man in comedy. He definetly gets kudos for putting up with the jack-assery of Jerry Lewis. But for my money I go with Ted Knight. Playing the straight man is not easy, and might be harder then being the comedic fool. In live performances, you can't laugh at the jack-ass on stage next to you, you are usually the butt of the joke, you never get any recognition cuz the other guy is the funny one, timing usually hinges on you, and you have to hold back on your own jokes!

Ted Knight in his role as Judge Elihu Smails in Caddyshack to me is the ultimate in straight man play. In all seriousness through out the entire movies he delivers lines and sets up the other actors like this:
Judge Smails: You know, you should play with Dr. Beeper and myself. I mean, he's been club champion for three years running and I'm no slouch myself.
Ty Webb: Don't sell yourself short Judge, you're a tremendous slouch.

Judge Smails: It's easy to grin / When your ship comes in / And you've got the stock market beat. / But the man worthwhile, / Is the man who can smile, / When his shorts are too tight in the seat.


Judge Smails: Ty, what did you shoot today?
Ty Webb: Oh, Judge, I don't keep score.
Judge Smails: Then how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
Ty Webb: By height.
Ted Knight played the straight man in virtually every other role he took on. And he di ti wonderfully. So My hat's off to you Ted Knight, Rest In Peace.


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