Four-Man Band

The Four Man Band is a primarily comedic group, designed for a sitcom or domcom. The four distinct personalities are specifically designed to play off each other so that whatever happens that day, Hilarity Ensues.

Please note that the Four-Man Band does not include The Hero. The focus is evenly spread among them. If there is a Main Character (rare) he can easily be any one of the Band, or the focus can just be switched between episodes to different characters. Even the four roles can be shuffled around a little.

Compare and contrast Four-Temperament Ensemble. The band most commonly includes:

  • Only Sane Man - Or maybe just the guy who comes the closest to being sane most often. Every zany gang must have a Straight Man, and the other three leads have to share one. While his (or her, although the role is usually male) friends act out, the Normal Guy's role is to Lampshade and be embarrassed by their behaviour. He will be more successful with the opposite sex than his friends, notably The Casanova Wannabe.
  • The Smart Guy - More intelligent than his friends. This variant is primarily geared towards Lampshading the relative stupidity of the others and being humiliated for his arrogance. Alternatively he may be a Mad Scientist type, with insane inventions.
  • The Casanova Wannabe - This guy has a perverted mind. He usually takes one of two common forms - the Loveable Sex Maniac whose high sex drive is his most memorable trait, or the Comedic Sociopath, who has bursts of hilarious violence. In lighter examples, certain concepts may be Played for Laughs, whereas in darker examples the character may draw on Black Comedy Rape.
  • The Butt-Monkey - A character who serves as a target for the others' jokes. There are a few tropes that could make the Band's Butt-Monkey; The Ditz, the Extreme Doormat or others. This member has remarkably less charisma than his friends or is a better target for jokes. The others will pick on him frequently and make him the target of practical jokes. Sometimes, however, this character may get one over on his bandmates, and this will thoroughly humiliate the others.

Compare Comic Trio (where The Casanova Wannabe leads, The Butt-Monkey goes along with him, and The Only Sane Man complains but is ignored).


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Lucky Star
Only Sane ManKagami Hiiragi
The Smart GuyMiyuki Takahara
The Casanova WannabeKonata Izumi
The Butt-MonkeyTsukasa Hiiragi

Lupin III reminds us that situational comedy humour can be found in many genres.
Only Sane ManJigenKeeps the most level head, gets to snark instead of gasp at the other characters.
The Smart GuyGoemonHead in the clouds, but not obsessed with his intelligence. Still gets into humiliating situations.
The Casanova WannabeLupinDepending on the story, his actions may be more or less explicit.
The Butt-MonkeyInspector ZenigataEspecially in Lupin III (Red Jacket), his role is to be humiliated by Lupin.

Shaman King Yoh and co. group searching for Dobi village
Only Sane ManYoh Asakura
The Smart GuyLenTao
The Casanova WannabeRyu
The Butt-MonkeyTrey/Horohoro

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
Only Sane ManGarterbelt
The Smart GuyStocking
The Casanova WannabePanty
The Butt-MonkeyBrief

Doraemon Nobita and the three neighborhood kids he interacts with the most.
Only Sane ManShizuka, Nobitaís crush who is often the voice of reason.
The Smart GuySuneo, the neighborhood rich boy who is smarter than the other boys, but is often Gianís patsy
The Casanova WannabeGian, Comedic Sociopath. The neighborhood bully. In later comics and more recent anime episodes and movie serials heís shown to be more affable, but heís usually the closest thing to a consistent antagonist who beats up other kids because heís having a bad day
The Butt-MonkeyNobita, the main character, often can't do anything right, sucks at pretty much everything, and has bad luck like no one else. As such, he often relies on Doraemon.

Hunter ◊ Hunter. At the Hunter Exam Arc we have...
Only Sane ManGon, while certainly naive and with a weird concept of morality, tends to act as The Kirk to Leorio's McCoy and Kurapika's Spock.
The Smart GuyKurapika is the smartest and most level-headed member of the group, unless you piss him off.
The Casanova WannabeKillua, of the sociopathic variety. Thanks goodness he isn't actually a bad person.
The Butt-MonkeyLeorio can't catch a break. When he is not getting beaten up or tricked by some other contestant, he is at the receiving end of Kurapika's snark.
    Comic Books 
Fantastic Four
Only Sane ManSue Storm
The Smart GuyReed Richards
The Casanova WannabeJohnny Storm
The Butt-MonkeyBen Grimm

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animation 
Chicken Little
Only Sane ManChicken Little
The Smart GuyFish Out of Water
The Casanova WannabeAbby Mallard
The Butt-MonkeyRunt of the Litter

Only Sane ManKristoff Bjorgman
The Smart GuyQueen Elsa
The Casanova WannabePrincess Anna
The Butt-MonkeyOlaf

The Secret of NIMH
Only Sane ManMrs. Brisby
The Smart GuyJustin
The Casanova WannabeJeremy
The Butt-MonkeyMr. Ages

Only Sane ManShrek
The Smart GuyDonkey
The Casanova WannabeFiona
The Butt-MonkeyPuss in Boots

Wreck-It Ralph
Only Sane ManSgt. Calhoun
The Smart GuyVanellope
The Casanova WannabeFix-It Felix
The Butt-MonkeyRalph

    Films — Live-Action 
Marx Brothers
Only Sane ManZeppo
The Smart GuyChico
The Casanova WannabeGroucho
The Butt-MonkeyHarpo

American Pie
Only Sane ManKevin/Oz
The Smart GuyOz/Kevin
The Casanova WannabeFinch
The Butt-MonkeyJim

American Wedding instead goes:
Only Sane ManKevin
The Smart GuyFinch
The Casanova WannabeStifler
The Butt-MonkeyJim

Ghostbusters (1984)
Only Sane ManWinston Zeddmore
The Smart GuyDr. Egon Spengler
The Casanova WannabeDr. Peter Venkman
The Butt-MonkeyDr. Raymond Stantz

Ghostbusters (2016)
Only Sane ManDr. Abigail Yates
The Smart GuyDr. Jillian Holtzmann
The Casanova WannabePatty Tolan
The Butt-MonkeyDr. Erin Gilbert

The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night and Help!
Only Sane ManPaul McCartney
The Smart GuyGeorge Harrison
The Casanova WannabeJohn Lennon
The Butt-MonkeyRingo Starr

The Goonies
Only Sane ManMikey Walsh
The Smart GuyData
The Casanova WannabeMouth
The Butt-MonkeyChunk

Stand by Me
Only Sane ManChris Chambers
The Smart GuyGordie LaChance
The Casanova WannabeTeddy Duchamp
The Butt-MonkeyVern Tessio

The Hangover
Only Sane ManDoug Billings (to the point the plot always ditches him to turn it into a Comic Trio)
The Smart GuyDr. Stu Price
The Casanova WannabePhil Wenneck
The Butt-MonkeyAlan Garner

Horrible Bosses 1 & 2
Only Sane ManNick Hendricks/Motherfucker Jones
The Smart GuyMotherfucker Jones/Nick Hendricks
The Casanova WannabeKurt Buckman
The Butt-MonkeyDale Arbus

The Wizard of Oz
Only Sane ManDorothy
The Smart GuyScarecrow
The Casanova WannabeTin Man
The Butt-MonkeyCowardly Lion

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Only Sane ManLiz Sherman
The Smart GuyProfessor Krauss
The Casanova WannabeAbe Sapien
The Butt-MonkeyHellboy

Star Trek (Kelvin line, which upgraded Uhura, the original timeline had a more Comic Trio dynamic)
Only Sane ManUhura
The Smart GuySpock
The Casanova WannabeKirk
The Butt-MonkeyMcCoy

The Lord of the Rings

The Hobbits:
Only Sane ManFrodo
The Smart GuyPippin
The Casanova WannabeMerry
The Butt-MonkeySam

Only Sane ManAragorn
The Smart GuyGandalf
The Casanova WannabeLegolas
The Butt-MonkeyGimli

The Covenant
Only Sane ManCaleb Danver
The Smart GuyPogue Parry
The Casanova WannabeReid Garwin
The Butt-MonkeyTyler Simms

Harry Potter

The Marauders:
Only Sane ManRemus Lupin
The Smart GuyJames Potter
The Casanova WannabeSirius Black
The Butt-MonkeyPeter Pettigrew

The main characters themselves:
Only Sane ManHarry Potter
The Smart GuyHermione Granger
The Casanova WannabeRon Weasley
The Butt-MonkeyNeville Longbottom, before he Took a Level in Badass

Peter Pan
Only Sane ManWendy
The Smart GuyJohn
The Casanova WannabePeter
The Butt-MonkeyMichael

    Live Action TV 
The Big Bang Theory
Only Sane ManLeonard Hofstadter
The Smart GuySheldon Cooper, and how.
The Casanova WannabeHoward Wolowitz, Loveable Sex Maniac until he met Bernadette
The Butt-MonkeyRaj Koothrappali. For the first six seasons, he's shy to the point he can't even speak to women unless drunk and is generally awkward. As he overcomes his fear of speaking to women, he retains his awkwardness but remains the Butt Monkey because he sometimes acts "metrosexual."

Only Sane ManOlivia Dunham. Peter sometimes takes a crack at this, especially when Olivia shows up at his apartment at ungodly hours.
The Smart GuyPeter Bishop: IQ 190.
The Casanova WannabeWalter Bishop. He would be the smart guy, but he's just too darn insane to function.
The Butt-MonkeyAstrid. Walter can't even remember her name.

The Inbetweeners
Only Sane ManSimon Cooper. Not, however, the Main Character.
The Smart GuyWill Mackenzie, who speaks French and is something of a high flyer
The Casanova WannabeJay Cartwright, who has been singularly attributed with bringing the word clunge back into the popular lexicon
The Butt-MonkeyNeil Sutherland. While he is more successful with the opposite sex than the others, he takes The Ditz to extreme levels and is the target of the others' jokes

Red Dwarf
Only Sane ManDavid Lister
The Smart GuyKryten.
The Casanova WannabeThe Cat. Loveable Sex Maniac
The Butt-MonkeyArnold Rimmer

Los Simuladores
Only Sane ManMedina
The Smart GuySantos
The Casanova WannabeRavenna
The Butt-MonkeyLamponne

The Monkees
Only Sane ManMike
The Smart GuyMicky
The Casanova WannabeDavy
The Butt-MonkeyPeter

The Nanny
Only Sane ManFran Fine
The Smart GuyMaxwell Sheffield
The Casanova WannabeNiles
The Butt-MonkeyC.C. Babcock

Only Sane ManJerry Seinfeld
The Smart GuyElaine Benes
The Casanova WannabeGeorge Costanza
The Butt-MonkeyCosmo Kramer

Impractical Jokers
Only Sane ManQ
The Smart GuySal
The Casanova WannabeJoe
The Butt-MonkeyMurr

The Young Ones
Only Sane ManMike by default
The Smart GuyVyvyan, by mad scientist standards anyway.
The Casanova WannabeRick
The Butt-MonkeyNeil, oh Neil.

The Young Ones (Alternate Character Interpretation)
Only Sane ManNeil by default
The Smart GuyVyvyan, by mad scientist standards anyway.
The Casanova WannabeMike, Casanova Wannabe
The Butt-MonkeyRick, who gets beat up and tormented even more than Neil.

The Young Ones (Alternate Character Interpretation)
Only Sane ManMike by default
The Smart GuyNeil, a Genius Ditz who got the highest test scores
The Casanova WannabeVyvyan, the poster child for Comedic Sociopath
The Butt-MonkeyRick, who gets beat up and tormented even more than Neil

Shameless Maguire boys
Only Sane ManPaddy Maguire. Frustrated at the failed initiatives and incompetence of his sons
The Smart GuyJamie Maguire. Generally speaking, the most independent and able of the sons
The Casanova WannabeMickey Maguire. Mainly his obsessive love for gay porn
The Butt-MonkeyShane Maguire. Pretty much identified for his lack of common sense or intelligence, early on.

Happy Days
Only Sane ManFonzie
The Smart GuyRichie
The Casanova WannabeRalph
The Butt-MonkeyPotsie

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia note 
Only Sane ManDee
The Smart GuyDennis
The Casanova WannabeMac
The Butt-MonkeyCharlie

Package Deal
Only Sane ManKim
The Smart GuyDanny
The Casanova WannabeSheldon
The Butt-MonkeyRyan

That '70s Show
Only Sane ManEric
The Smart GuyHyde
The Casanova WannabeKelso
The Butt-MonkeyFez

The A-Team
Only Sane ManFace
The Smart GuyHannibal
The Casanova WannabeB.A.
The Butt-MonkeyMurdock

The IT Crowd
Only Sane ManJen
The Smart GuyMoss
The Casanova WannabeRoy or Douglas
The Butt-MonkeyRoy or Richmond

Will & Grace
Only Sane ManGrace
The Smart GuyWill
The Casanova WannabeKaren
The Butt-MonkeyJack

The Golden Girls
Only Sane ManSofia
The Smart GuyDorothy
The Casanova WannabeBlanche
The Butt-MonkeyRose

Dawson's Creek
Only Sane ManDawson
The Smart GuyJoey
The Casanova WannabeJen
The Butt-MonkeyPacey

Babylon 5
Only Sane ManJohn Sheridan
The Smart GuyDelenn
The Casanova WannabeG'Kar
The Butt-MonkeyLondo Mollari

Stargate SG-1
Only Sane ManSamantha Carter
The Smart GuyDaniel Jackson
The Casanova WannabeTeal'c
The Butt-MonkeyJack O'Neill

Stargate Atlantis
Only Sane ManTeyla Emmagan
The Smart GuyRodney McKay
The Casanova WannabeJohn Sheppard
The Butt-MonkeyRonon Dex

Only Sane ManWade Wells
The Smart GuyQuinn Mallory
The Casanova WannabeRembrandt Brown
The Butt-MonkeyMaximilian Arturo

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Only Sane ManBuffy Summers
The Smart GuyRupert Giles
The Casanova WannabeXander Harris, overlap with Butt Monkey
The Butt-MonkeyWillow Rosenberg, overlap with Smart Guy

El Chavo del ocho
Only Sane ManLa Chilindrina
The Smart GuyÑoño
The Casanova WannabeEl Chavo
The Butt-MonkeyKiko

The Muppet Show
Only Sane ManKermit
The Smart GuyPiggy
The Casanova WannabeGonzo
The Butt-MonkeyFozzie

Weird Science
Only Sane ManWyatt|
The Smart GuyLisa
The Casanova WannabeGary
The Butt-MonkeyChett

3rd Rock from the Sun: The Solomon Family, disguised alien researchers studying Earth
Only Sane ManTommy Solomon, high school student, Information Officer
The Smart GuyDick Solomon, physics professor, High Commander
The Casanova WannabeSally Solomon, homemaker, Security Officer
The Butt-MonkeyHarry, they had an extra seat, so...

The Defenders
Only Sane ManLuke Cage
The Smart GuyDaredevil
The Casanova WannabeJessica Jones
The Butt-MonkeyIron Fist

    Video Games 
Super Robot Wars Original Generation has Octopus Squad.
Only Sane ManRussel Bergman, The Generic Guy in a cast full of weirdos and often the one who tries to break up fights.
The Smart GuyLeona Garstein, a cool-headed Ace Pilot.
The Casanova WannabeKatina Tarask, a Hot-Blooded Leeroy Jenkins prone to over the top threats of violence.
The Butt-MonkeyTasuku Shinguji, a tactless ditz who earns his punishment by saying the wrong things.

Star Fox
Only Sane ManFox McCloud
The Smart GuyPeppy Hare
The Casanova WannabeFalco Lambordi
The Butt-MonkeySlippy Toad

    Web Comic 
Exterminatus Now
Only Sane ManRogue
The Smart GuyVirus, he's the most book smart at least
The Casanova WannabeEastwood
The Butt-MonkeyLothar

8-Bit Theater, Light Warriors
Only Sane ManThief
The Smart GuyRed Mage, or so he thinks
The Casanova WannabeBlack Mage (mostly of the Sociopathic type, except when White Mage is featured)
The Butt-MonkeyFighter

Homestar Runner, Teen Girl Squad
Only Sane ManCheerleader
The Smart GuySo and So
The Casanova WannabeThe Ugly One
The Butt-MonkeyWhat's Her Face

    Web Original 
Four Swords Misadventures
Only Sane ManGreen Link
The Smart GuyBlue Link
The Casanova WannabeRed Link
The Butt-MonkeyPurple Link

Dragon Ball Z Abridged (Of the four main human fighters)
Only Sane ManKrillin
The Smart GuyTien
The Casanova WannabeMaster Roshi
The Butt-MonkeyYamcha

After Hours
Only Sane ManKatie
The Smart GuySoren (maybe not the smartest, but the most adept and most likely to be crushed for his hubris)
The Casanova WannabeMichael
The Butt-MonkeyDan

Red vs. Blue, Red Team
Only Sane ManGrif
The Smart GuySimmons, by virtue of his attitude rather than his competence
The Casanova WannabeSarge, of the Comedic Sociopath variety
The Butt-MonkeyDonut

    Western Animation 

Only Sane ManSnoopy
The Smart GuyLinus
The Casanova WannabeLucy
The Butt-MonkeyCharlie Brown

Family Guy
Only Sane ManPeter Griffin
The Smart GuyJoe
The Casanova WannabeQuagmire, who brings this character to its most outrageous (and darkest) levels
The Butt-MonkeyCleveland Brown. He personifies Extreme Doormat in his pre-spinoff appearances

The Cleveland Show
Only Sane ManEx Butt-Monkey Cleveland Brown
The Smart GuyTim the Bear
The Casanova WannabeHolt Richter
The Butt-MonkeyLester

South Park
Only Sane ManStan
The Smart GuyKyle
The Casanova WannabeCartman (Comedic Sociopath)
The Butt-MonkeyKenny

The Penguins of Madagascar
Only Sane ManSkipper
The Smart GuyKowalski
The Casanova WannabeRico, Comedic Sociopath
The Butt-MonkeyPrivate

King of the Hill
Only Sane ManHank Hill
The Smart GuyDale Gribble
The Casanova WannabeBoomhauer
The Butt-MonkeyBill Dauterive

The Looney Tunes Show
Only Sane ManBugs
The Smart GuyTina
The Casanova WannabeLola
The Butt-MonkeyDaffy

The Super Mario Bros. Super Show
Only Sane ManMario
The Smart GuyLuigi
The Casanova WannabeToad
The Butt-MonkeyToadstool

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
Only Sane ManLeonardo
The Smart GuyDonatello
The Casanova WannabeRaphael
The Butt-MonkeyMichelangelo

The Simpsons: The Simpson family
Only Sane ManMarge
The Smart GuyLisa
The Casanova WannabeBart
The Butt-MonkeyHomer

Moe's Tavern Regulars
Only Sane ManMoe
The Smart GuyCarl
The Casanova WannabeBarney
The Butt-MonkeyLenny

101 Dalmatians: The main pups from the TV series
Only Sane ManSpot
The Smart GuyLucky
The Casanova WannabeCadpig
The Butt-MonkeyRolly

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
Only Sane ManChip
The Smart GuyGadget
The Casanova WannabeDale
The Butt-MonkeyMonterey Jack

The Real Ghostbusters
Only Sane ManWinston Zeddmore
The Smart GuyDr. Egon Spengler
The Casanova WannabeDr. Peter Venkman
The Butt-MonkeyDr. Raymond Stantz

Extreme Ghostbusters
Only Sane ManKylie Griffin
The Smart GuyRoland Jackson
The Casanova WannabeEduardo Rivera
The Butt-MonkeyGarrett Miller

Kaeloo: The main four
Only Sane ManKaeloo
The Smart GuyQuack Quack
The Casanova WannabeMr. Cat
The Butt-MonkeyStumpy