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Creator: Laurel and Hardy
Laurel (left) and Hardy (right) in their iconic bowler hats.

Stan Laurel (16 June, 1890 23 February, 1965) and Oliver Hardy (18 January, 1892 7 August, 1957) are an early 20th century comedy double-act famous for visual-slapstick humour. Among the most enduringly famous of Laurel and Hardy's works are The Music Box, which features two workers' Sisyphean attempts to move a piano up several flights of stairs, and Babes in Toyland.

Laurel and Hardy got their start as a duo with director Hal Roach's Hal Roach Studios in the late 1920s, and occasionally worked with bigger studios such as RKO and MGM. They are notable for their successful transition from silent-era film to "talkies", and were extremely prolific throughout the late '20s and the '30s. In later years they also toured extensively as stage performers.

Though the pair's sketches were often the result of a team of writers, Stan Laurel was something of an "idea man" who rewrote segments of scripts and did a lot of improvising.

The YMMV page can be found here.

Works Featured on This Wiki:


Tropes Associated With Laurel and Hardy:

  • Acrofatic: Oliver Hardy was a talented physical comedy performer and a graceful dancer, despite his size.
  • All Just a Dream: The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case, Oliver the Eighth
  • Amusing Injuries: Frequently.
  • Aside Glance: One of Hardy's trademarks, turning to the camera with an expression that just reads, "Why always me?" Also used when he was baffled by Laurel's actions, when it means "What is he doing now?"
    • While uproariously funny in itself, it was often used to pad out a gag to give the audience time to finish laughing so they wouldn't miss the next bit of dialog.
    • Stan himself would sometimes direct a befuddled gaze at the camera.
  • Badass: Both of them. They're practically Made of Iron and once defeated an entire army of angry Arabs with nothing but tacks scattered on the desert floor.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: In Laughing Gravy, Stan tries to hoist Ollie up via one of these, with the expected results.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy as well as Fat and Skinny. Oliver Hardy disliked being overweight, but the studios insisted upon his not dieting to maintain this trope.
    • In Spanish they are literally known as "El Gordo y el Flaco" (The Fat and the Skinny).
    • In Dutch too: "De Dikke en de Dunne" (The Fat and the Skinny)
      • Same in Brazillian Portuguese, "O Gordo e o Magro".
      • In European Portuguese, "O Bucha e o Estica" (The Chub and the Stretch).
      • And in German as "Dick und Doof" (Fat and Stupid).
      • And in Finnish as "Ohukainen ja Paksukainen" (Skinny and Fatty).
      • Just say, "Remember in those old movies, those two funny guys Fatty and Skinny?" and many people know exactly who you mean.
  • Black Widow: In Oliver the Eighth (though she's the rich one, not her husbands).
  • Bloodless Carnage: In Beau Hunks, two Legionnaires are gunned down and fall off the battlements with no blood seen at all, despite the fact they're dead.
  • The Boxing Episode: Any Old Port
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: The eponymous brotherhood/lodge in Sons of the Desert. (Both men were Freemasons in real life.)
  • The Cast Showoff: Ollie had quite a set of pipes. Plus, both the boys frequently got to show off their dancing.
  • Catch Phrase: "Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into!", often said by Ollie to Stan after things went awry. One of their shorts was even called Another Fine Mess.
    • Actually this is a case of Beam Me Up, Scotty!. Ollie would sometimes say it was "another nice mess", but never fine. The confusion probably comes from the title of that short.
      • Furthermore, people often misquote the phrase as, "...another fine mess you've gotten us into!"
    • Laurel's tearful, high-pitched whimper of, "Well, I couldn't help it!", often in response to the above accusation.
    • Also, Hardy's "Why don't you do something to help me?" and agonized bellow of "OHHH!"
  • Cement Shoes: Played for Laughs in Our Relations.
  • Character Tics: Ollie's bashful tie-twiddling and Stan's befuddled head-scratching.
    • The forceful "Take that!" nods both would give to punctuate an Escalating War.
    • Stan's idiotic smile.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: Pack Up Your Troubles plays this trope straight. Early on, Stan and Oliver get an Army cook in trouble. He vows that if he ever comes across the duo again, he'd come after them with a knife. At the end of the film, when they've happily resolved everything, they're asked to stay to eat. The cook turns out to be the former Army cook from before - and he makes good on his threat as he chases Laurel and Hardy off into the distance.
  • The Chew Toy: Ollie, always on the receiving end of most injuries.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Liberty
  • Credits Gag: Another Fine Mess has its credits recited aloud by a pair of twin usherettes.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: At the end of One Good Turn, Stan snaps and starts physically attacking Ollie while shouting threats. The boys added this in because Stan's little girl was scared of her "Uncle Ollie" (she thought the way he bullied Stan in the films was real); seeing a movie where her dad finally stood up to him completely fixed the problem.
    • This was also an example of Serendipity Writes The Plot: The ending was improvised because Stanley's daughter was actually on the set that day and he wanted her to be happy.
    • In Block-Heads, the boys have a run-in with a bratty little kid (played by Tommy Bond, aka "Butch" in The Little Rascals). This leads to the kid's father twice kicking Ollie in the rear...for which Stan retaliates in turn by landing a punch on the guy's chin that knocks him out cold.
  • Crusty Caretaker: Seen in The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case, although Played for Laughs.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Seen in Beau Hunks. Once Ollie and Stan unleash tacks on the Riffs, the battle is immediately won by the French Foreign Legion.
  • Cue the Rain: Helpmates
  • Darker and Edgier: Flying Deuces. It has several moments of Gallows Humor, contains long drawn-out scenes that have just as many contemplative and depressing moments as they do funny moments, and kills off Ollie at the climax, leaving Stan all alone...until the next scene where he comes back as a talking horse.
  • Dashingly Dapper Derby
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ollie, usually towards Stanley when he says or does an idiocy. He can also be a silent one.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Eddie Smith in Pack Up Your Troubles. Initially, it seems as though he'll be something of an underdog hero (his wife left him, he has a little toddler he has to take care of, he's been estranged from his father) while Stan and Ollie act as the comic relief. Then, he is killed while serving in WWI, and the focus stays on Stan and Ollie for the rest of the movie as they try to take care of his daughter and reunite her with her grandparents; thankfully, the comedic tone returns after this shift of focus.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Often. Very often, in fact.
  • Downer Ending: There were several films with a Downer ending (known as the body terror ending) where the boys' bodies are tortured, and ends with Ollie telling Stan "Well, Here's Another Nice Mess You've Gotten Me Into!" And Stan whines in a high-pitched voice "But I Couldn't Help It, You Always Picked Me!"
    • Going Bye-Bye has Stan and Ollie sitting in a couch with their legs tied to their neck.
    • The Live Ghost has Stan and Ollie's heads backwards.
    • The Bohemian Girl has Stan as a dwarf and Ollie as a giant from after being in the tortured chamber.
    • The Bullfighters has Stan and Ollie are being skinned alive and become skeletons.
  • Dreadful Musicians: They appear to be this in You're Darn Tootin' and Below Zero.
  • Driven to Suicide: The boys' landlord, in Laughing Gravy.
  • Epic Fail: IN SPADES. Nearly everything they do often turns into one big fail.
  • Escalating War: A frequent occurrence.
  • Extreme Omni Goat: Angora Love
  • Fat Bastard: Ollie is a huge Jerk Ass to Stan in almost all the films.
  • Fat Idiot: Ollie.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Very few of the comedy team's films end with them achieving success, usually because Stan does something utterly boneheaded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
  • Finger Snap Lighter: Stan is able to do this in Way out West, which baffles Ollie.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Hardy is the only one aside from Charlie Chaplin who gets a free pass for using the toothbrush mustache that Adolf Hitler made infamous.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Stan and Ollie were masters of improvised comedy.
  • Henpecked Husband: Including one feature titled Should Married Men Go Home?
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The characters they portrayed, more often than not, and the actors themselves.
    On August 7, 1957, Oliver Hardy died. Due to his own poor health, Stan did not attend his funeral, stating "Babe (Hardy's nickname) would understand". After that, Stan realized he would never act again, but he did write gags and sketches for fellow comedians. People who knew Laurel said he was absolutely devastated by Hardy's death and never fully recovered. On one occasion following Hardy's passing, a casual fan mistook Laurel for his late partner. "Aren't you Oliver Hardy?" the fan asked. Laurel obliged, claiming he was indeed Oliver Hardy. The fan then asked whatever happened to "the other guy". Laurel tellingly replied: "Oh, him? Well, he went quite mad".
  • Identity Amnesia: In A Chump at Oxford, Stan is revealed to actually be one "Lord Paddington", a brilliant and snobby university scholar who lost his memory (and most of his intelligence) and left campus when a window closed on his head. He temporarily becomes his alter ego in Chump when that same window drops on his head again, but the accident is naturally repeated once more just before the film's end, thereby returning Stan to his usual stupid self and maintaining the status quo.
  • Identical Stranger: Our Relations
  • Jerk Ass: Ollie.
  • Large Ham: Hardy
  • Legion of Lost Souls: Beau Hunks and The Flying Deuces have the boys joining them.
  • Leitmotif: "The Cuckoo Song"
  • Lethally Stupid: Stan. And how!...
    • Ollie can be this also. Their natural gift for self-inflicted disasters is topped by The Three Stooges alone.
      • Oliver Hardy once remarked that his character was actually the more thickheaded of the two, because he would always place his complete faith and trust in Stan no matter how invariably Stan led them into disaster.
  • Mad Scientist: Dirty Work
  • Made of Iron: Both of them in most of their films. They can take pianos crushing them, ladders in the eye, houses collapsing on them and truncheons to the groin with only minimal pain, then go back to what they were doing in the first place.
  • Malaproper: Stan, often.
    "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead."
    • Though Sons of the Desert finds him briefly achieving Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
      Stan: I've certainly got to hand it to you, Ollie.
      Ollie: For what?
      Stan: Well, for the meticulous care with which you have executed your finely-formulated machinations in extricating us from this devastating dilemma.
      Stan: Then, on the other hand... (*lapses back into his usual confused state*)
      Ollie: Get in bed. "Meticulous". Hmmph!
  • Man Child: Laurel.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In Sons of the Desert, Stan and Ollie wouldn't get back home until they came up with a cover story for an escapade. When interrogated by cops about their places of residence, Ollie claimed to live at home and Stan said he was Ollie's next door neighbor. Stan, being Stan, told a really useful answer later.
  • Mirror Monologue: Ollie, in Helpmates.
  • Murphy's Bed: Plays a role in Be Big!
  • Never My Fault: Whenever things invariably went wrong, Ollie would tell Stan "Well, here's another fine nice mess you've gotten me into!" This was Ollie's Catch Phrase.
  • Nice Hats
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the last Warner Bros. Bosko The Talk Ink Kid short, "Bosko's Picture Show", one of the films shown features Laurel and Hardy caricatures, dubbed as "Haurel and Lardy".
  • No Fourth Wall: Ollie broke the Fourth Wall in nearly every single film, while Stan pulled off an Aside Glance a few times.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Happens in Sons of the Desert: Ollie's wife throws every piece of crockery in the house at him, while everybody in the restaurant subjects the boys to this in Below Zero.
  • Offscreen Crash: Frequently.
  • On One Condition: An alternate, three-reel version of Laughing Gravy has Stan getting a letter informing him he's inherited $1,000 from a deceased uncle...provided he severs all connections with Ollie.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The boot routine that takes up the majority of Be Big. Because of it, Be Big is generally considered the worst of their shorts and sometimes even the worst film they ever made period prior to leaving Hal Roach.
  • The Pratfall: there's even a fan magazine for the pair called Pratfall.
  • Pie in the Face / Food Fight: The Battle of the Century
  • Really Gets Around: "Jeanie-Weenie", in Beau Hunks.
  • The Remake: Their first non-Roach feature, Flying Deuces, plays with this. It's generally called a partial remake of their earlier four-reeler, Beau Hunks, using the same basic set-up - Stan and Ollie enlisting in the foreign legion after a woman breaks Ollie's heart - but not any of the earlier film's gags or plot developments.
    • The Music Box is a loose remake of the earlier silent short Hats Off, only instead of the original washing machine being lugged up an interminable flight of stairs, it's a piano.
    • Laughing Gravy is basically a remake of the silent Angora Love.
    • The first reel of the feature length version of A Chump at Oxford is a remake of the 1928 silent short From Soup to Nuts.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Stan.
  • Servile Snarker: The butler in Dirty Work.
  • Show Some Leg: How Stan stops the stagecoach in Way Out West, parodying It Happened One Night.
  • Single Issue Landlord: In Laughing Gravy.
  • Slapstick
  • Squirrels in My Pants: The crab in Liberty.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: Variant— in Thicker Than Water, a botched blood transfusion (too much donated from Stan to Ollie, then too much put back from Ollie to Stan, and so on) results in Ollie's excess weight being transferred over to Stan. (Of course, in reality, Hardy had simply shaved his mustache and Laurel had grown one, to appear as each other.) See here.
  • The Take: In various forms, including all manner of Spit Takes and the hilarious Delayed Reaction take that was Laurel's specialty.
  • Throw The Pin: Stan (naturally) in Beau Hunks.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Both of 'em.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Brats has Stan and Ollie babysitting their lookalike children; Twice Two has them married to each other's lookalike sisters; Our Relations has them mixed up with their identical twins.
  • Vagabond Buddies
  • Vandalism Backfire: In You're Darn Tootin', Stan and Ollie knock each other's hats off as part of an Escalating War. Then Ollie stamps on what he thinks is Stan's hat. It turns out to be his own.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: The second variety. Stan and Ollie spend a lot of time engaging in Comedic Sociopathy around each other. In Real Life, this too was the case—but unlike many duos that went without with the "best buds" part, Laurel and Hardy omitted "vitriolic". This was perhaps a great part of their appeal: the actors themselves were dear friends, and it showed.
  • Work Off the Debt: Averted HARD in the short "Below Zero"; the duo treats a cop to a meal in return for helping them earlier. It turns out that if you can't pay your bill in said restaurant, you don't wash dishes; everyone in the restaurant subjects you to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Guess what happens to Laurel and Hardy when it's revealed that they can't pay their check?

Jay And Silent BobFilm SeriesLethal Weapon
Harold LloydSilent Movie    
Improv EverywhereDouble Acts And GroupsStewart Lee
Felix the CatFilms of the 1920sOswald the Lucky Rabbit
The Three StoogesFilms of the 1930sThe Music Box
Lisa KudrowComic ActorsJohn Leguizamo

alternative title(s): Laurel And Hardy
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