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Deadpan Snarker

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"Wow, sarcasm. That's original."


A character prone to gnomic, sarcastic, sometimes bitter, occasionally whimsical asides. They can vary wildly from rare, funny one-liners to complete obnoxiousness.

The Deadpan Snarker note  exists to deflate pomposity, point out the unlikelihood of certain plans, and deliver funny lines. Typically the most cynical supporting character. In most cases, it is implied that the snarker would make a good leader, strategist, or consultant given their ability to instantly see the flaws in a constructed plan. More often than not, their innate snarkiness is the only thing preventing the other characters from comprehending this for themselves. In other cases, the Deadpan Snarker resorts to sarcasm because they're the Only Sane Man. Tends to be shot a Death Glare when they go too far (and probably isn't without one of their own, either). Note that due to the definition evolving, the "Deadpan" part of the title has gradually become The Artifact and a deadpan delivery is no longer a necessary part of the trope.


Sometimes the Deadpan Snarker is shown to be incapable of avoiding sarcasm, due to his insecurity about expressing any genuine thought or feeling, and his fear of withdrawing from the cynical position and protection. This may turn him into a Stepford Snarker.

While the Snarker has existed (in both fiction and Real Life) since time immemorial, its most contemporary incarnation emerged in the early 1930s with the new popularity of sound cinema and the rise of "zinger" comedy. In fact, it was in 1933 that the word "wisecrack" (the Snarker's most trusted sidearm) entered English-language dictionaries. (And, in a stroke of genius, the word "wisecrack" is itself a wisecrack, carrying the sarcastic connotation of "Oh, yeah, you're a real Socrates, smart guy.")

A sub-trope of this is Grade System Snark. Compare The Snark Knight, Little Miss Snarker, Cuckoosnarker, Weasel Mascot, The Mean Brit, First-Person Smartass, Servile Snarker, Gentleman Snarker, Silent Snarker, Disabled Snarker. See also Snark Bait, Non-Action Snarker, Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick, Cats Are Snarkers, Tall, Dark, and Snarky, Surrounded by Idiots, and Sarcastic Devotee. Sometimes overlaps with Genre Savvy and No Sense of Humor. A common role for a Straight Man. May wear Jade-Colored Glasses. Expect them to resort frequently to Brutal Honesty. If there are too many of these, you might be in a World of Snark. Overdoing it on one character may result in a Jerkass. Expect plenty of Snark-to-Snark Combat if and when two of these meet. May result in Offing the Mouth. Try not to confuse the dialogue with Buffy Speak. It's common among narrators, making them into a Lemony Narrator.


Now, as for real life examples... Oh, yeah, right. Someone up there has got no sense of humour.

Boy, I hope you don't mind actually reading a full sentence to know which example subpages you're in for.

Other Examples... or something.

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  • Morris the Catnote  from the 9 Lives cat food commercials does this on a regular basis.note 

    Comic Strips 
  • In Conchy, the cynical Oom Paul is always ready to point out the foibles of his fellow islanders, or the world in general, in an extremely dry fashion.
  • Will, Wheeler, and Cocoa from Dogs of C-Kennel.
  • A newspaper comic example: While Garfield has always been a deadpan snarker, when his comic began, Jon Arbuckle was the original (human) snarker (being most notorious during the fall of 1978), with Dr. Liz Wilson taking that role when she was introduced the following year. (Jon at the turn of the eighties was not yet the Straw Loser he is today). Finally, by the mid-1990s the cast had been reduced to Garfield, Jon and Odie (apart from the unseen Ellen and Jon's various blind dates), and the fat cat took the deadpan persona he is today.
  • Snoopy from Peanuts.
  • Rudi from the German comic of the same name. His sister also has this somewhat. When Rudi reprimands her for wearing a sexy Little Black Dress, so all the guys on the street are staring at her:
    Vicky: "Don't like it? Sorry, but my burqa is being dry-cleaned..."
  • In Sally Forth (Wood): two specialists are Wild Bill Yonder and Q. P. Dahl.


  • Most of Starlee's clients on Mystery Show. Starlee also gets in on it occasionally.

  • In Rascals, Amanda towards Chrissy due to their history, as evident on this page.

    Pro Wrestling 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pinball


Ready Jet Go

Mindy claims that she has solved the case of what "Mitchell's doing", and Mitchell snarks at her in return.

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