"Wow, what a terrific audience."
If a character in any given show is constantly cracking wise and making wry observations, no matter how clever and funny they are, they never elicit so much as a smirk from any of the other characters. While in real life genuinely funny and charming people are social darlings, in TV land they're more seen as annoying losers.
The prime examples would have to be Chandler Bing
and Xander Harris
, who — in their early seasons, at least — were funnier than just about anyone in real life, yet got nothing back but eye-rolling and sighs. You wonder why they hang out with these people.
Of course, it's all for the best. Constantly chuckling characters would drive viewers insane (a constantly chuckling audience
does nothing of the sort, of course
), especially if they're laughing at a joke the viewer doesn't find funny.
, especially if it's left in the final cut
, and Actually Pretty Funny
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- In an American Express commercial, Jerry Seinfeld performs in Britain and his stand up with American cultural idioms is met with stony silence. Fortunately, with his Amex card, he goes on a whirlwind cultural immersion and he creates a British savvy act that brings the house down.
- Yorick from Y: The Last Man peppers his speech with pop culture references, to which 355 reacts with indifference and Dr Mann with snarkiness. This can be read as either an example or a subversion of the trope, depending on how funny you think he is.
- In the classic film, A Night at the Opera, Groucho Marx's character improvises an opening speech at an opera theatre that in real life would have brought the house down with laughter and inspire thunderous applause for making a normally boring formality so entertaining, but in the film, evoked only stony silence.
- In the Marx's earlier film Monkey Business the director told the extras in the party scene to laugh when Harpo did something funny because he was afraid the movie's audience wouldn't laugh otherwise, thinking that there was something wrong with him.
- The third Austin Powers movie, in response to the silence when Dr. Evil makes a surprisingly good joke;
Dr. Evil: "Gentlemen, welcome to my Submarine Lair. *beat* It's long, hard and full of sea men!"
Dr. Evil: No? No? Not even a titter? Huh. Tough sub.
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