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[[quoteright:350:[[ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sane_man_1998.png]]]]

->''"I began to get a feeling... of being the only sane man in a nut house. It doesn't make you feel superior but depressed and scared, because there is no one you can contact."''
-->-- '''Creator/WilliamSBurroughs'''

When there is a group of characters who are all just totally weird, either in general or in a particular scenario, the Only Sane Man is the only one who, well, isn't.

Picture this: Alice is a PsychoForHire, Bob is a {{Cloudcuckoolander}}, Doug is an EmptyShell, and Emily is a MadScientist. Looks like your standard DysfunctionJunction. But then you have Gardenia. Gardenia is actually a very well-adjusted individual. She reacts with appropriate horror to things like Alice's finger collection and the crimes against nature that Emily calls pets. Gardenia is the Only Sane Woman.

The other variant is where the other characters aren't ''always'' that weird, but everyone save one character is acting weird in a particular situation. For example, they might regard something absurd as SeriousBusiness, with the Only Sane Man the only one who notices how crazy that is.

This latter variant also includes a standard comedy piece: something absolutely insane [[NoMereWindmill is going on]], but only one person notices (or cares). There are usually three stages, with a rough correspondence to the FiveStagesOfGrief: Bewilderment (Shock and Anger), trying to get others to see or admit the weirdness (Bargaining and Denial), and [[DeadpanSnarker bitter sarcasm]] (Acceptance).

In the more extreme cases, the poor soul may be trapped in a WorldGoneMad and/or wind up GivingUpOnLogic in frustration. Sometimes, though, they are NotSoAboveItAll. A character may also ''think'' of themselves as the Only Sane Man without proper justification.

A TooDumbToFool character may be the Only Sane Man, although he is likely to be less worked up about the failures of others to see than in most cases.

The Only Sane Man is [[TheReliableOne often relied upon]] as the OnlySaneEmployee. This character often ends up a KnightInSourArmor. For a more horrific version, see ThroughTheEyesOfMadness. For the sci-fi version, the IgnoredExpert is your go-to guy. The comedy version will often end up being either a ButtMonkey or a ChewToy. If all the other characters are otherwise sane, and really should see something, but only one guy does, he's an EinsteinSue. See also CassandraTruth, SurroundedByIdiots, and SurroundedBySmartPeople; contrast with the UnfazedEveryman. May temporarily overlap with WhatTheHellHero.

If several characters take turns being the Only Sane Man, they're playing with a SanityBall. If it's a two-person show, with one person playing the Only Sane Man to the other's wackiness, it's a StraightManAndWiseGuy scenario. This trope is the savvy half of a SavvyGuyEnergeticGirl duo, one third of a ComicTrio, and part of the FourManBand.

Usually, but not always, a CastFullOfCrazy contains an Only Sane Man. Usually, he's prone to SanitySlippage.

TheWonka may well feel like this (or be this!) in a world that doesn't follow his thinking. Insanity is, after all, in the eye of the beholder, and TheWonka often has quite valid points.


!!Example sub-pages

* OnlySaneMan/{{Advertising}}
* OnlySaneMan/AnimeAndManga
* OnlySaneMan/ComicBooks
* OnlySaneMan/{{Fanfic}}
* OnlySaneMan/{{Film}}
* OnlySaneMan/{{Literature}}
* OnlySaneMan/LiveActionTV
* OnlySaneMan/{{Music}}
* OnlySaneMan/ProfessionalWrestling
* OnlySaneMan/{{Radio}}
* OnlySaneMan/StandUpComedy
* OnlySaneMan/TabletopGames
* OnlySaneMan/{{Theatre}}
* OnlySaneMan/VideoGames
* OnlySaneMan/{{Webcomics}}
* OnlySaneMan/WebOriginal
* OnlySaneMan/WesternAnimation


[[folder:Audio Play]]
* ''AudioPlay/ExitTunesPresentsACTORS'': Hinata Mitsutsuka. Despite his character design and cheerful personality, he is in fact the one who reins in his fellow club members' more...''unorthodox'' ideas.
-->''[talking to the Singing Club, about [[ItMakesSenseInContext the cat]] the Singing Club had accidentally adopted] "Like I said, that kind of naming sense is no good!!"''
** In [=ACTORS2=], Rei Ichijoudani. While he [[NotSoAboveItAll has his moments where he acts otherwise]], for the most part, he acts like this. Especially when it comes to his former ''nanpa'' partner [[HandsomeLech Takato]]...
** In [=ACTORS3=], Seijun Yuyama, mostly with regards to his Club President [[LargeHam Kouya]] and friend [[SweetTooth Kaoru]].
--->'''Seijun:''' Don't drag me into this conversation, you perverts.\\
'''Kaoru:''' I'm no pervert! I'm a CovertPervert!\\
'''Seijun:''' Don't just say that so easily!!

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', as seen on the page image above, has been this at various points.
* Frank Mellish from ''ComicStrip/LibertyMeadows'' gets flustered and dismayed at the animals' antics.
* Sam from ''ComicStrip/InSecurity'' may have his quirks, but compared to his [[GenkiGirl wife]] Sedine and her [[ManChild cousin]] Roy, he's practically the voice of reason.

* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'':
** Played straight with [[RidiculouslyHumanRobot Lopez the Heavy]]. After a few years of dealing with the ArmedFarces all around him, he more or less resigns himself to dealing with it with a hefty dose of [[DeadpanSnarker sarcasm]], even for this WorldOfSnark.
** It also repeatedly has this as a SubvertedTrope. If someone is put in place as the OnlySaneMan he often becomes TheLeader by default... but is also one of the only members of the cast with a legitimate mental disorder.
*** [[spoiler:Alpha!]]Church is revealed through a series of CerebusRetcon situations to have a ''severe'' case of a LiteralSplitPersonality brought on by extensive MindRape.
*** Washington more or less lost his mind (for a time) when [[LivingMemory Epsilon]] was seemingly DrivenToSuicide while still linked with him. When he gets better through extensive CharacterDevelopment, he turns out to have quirks just like the rest of the cast.
*** [[spoiler:Felix]] seems to be rather okay as a new guy in ''Machinima/RedVsBlueTheChorusTrilogy''... but it turns out that he seems to have a checklist of traits of [[TheSociopath antisocial personality disorder]].
* ''Machinima/Supermarioglitchy4sSuperMario64Bloopers'': Starman3. While he does have his moments, he has the least amount of plans that are unsafe.