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The Comically Serious
aka: Comically Serious

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Everything's funnier with Batman.

"... but this man, at the centre of everything, stoic in the face of chaos... he's the funniest man in the world!"
Charlie Chaplin, Murdoch Mysteries, "Murdoch and the Tramp"

Just because a character's as jolly as a sloth with major depression doesn't mean they can't be funny. A Comically Serious character's lack of reaction to embarrassing, undignified, or just plain bizarre situations can subvert our expectations of embarrassment, hysteria, or insanity and make for comedy gold. When they're not serving as the 'straight man' for all the wacky hijinks the universe throws their way, the character is likely to be a Deadpan Snarker, The Stoic, The Killjoy, or The Quiet One. Expect them to be a Perpetual Frowner.

Typically works as a Straight Man in the cast, although they may have a quirky Achilles' Heel. They may also serve as an Only Sane Man, and oftentimes become the victim of Not So Above It All.

Comically Serious characters often turn up in Brit Coms.

Bizarrely enough, has a very similar comedic style to the certain kinds of Cloudcuckoolander, in that the Cloudcuckoolander's comedy often comes from serious reactions to their own oddities, while The Comically Serious's comes from serious reactions to other peoples' oddities. Might also be the Butt-Monkey in settings where being serious is seen as an offense.

A Sub-Trope of Bathos. A Sister Trope to Serious Business, Comical Overreacting.

Compare No Sense of Humor; So Unfunny, It's Funny; Narm; Straight Man and Wise Guy. Contrast Laughably Evil; Dude, Not Funny!.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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  • A TV commercial for the Navy Federal Credit Union currently making the rounds features a deadpan Marine who used to train IED-sniffing dogs sitting in a pickup with his wife's Shih-Tzu, who he "just adores." It's the way he says it without showing any emotion that both qualifies the ad for this trope and sells the moment.
  • Darth Vader and two Stormtroopers celebrate the renovation of Disney Theme Parks' Star Tours with a trip to Disneyland.
  • This absolutely bizarre set of ads for GMarket in Korea, featuring Kim Heechul and Kim Seolhyun doing goofy dances and whisper-rapping random household items while completely stone-faced serious.
  • Sprint created a series of ads featuring Malcolm McDowell and James Earl Jones, in tuxedos, facing each other across a stage and giving dramatic recitations of mundane text-message, Facebook and phone exchanges.
  • MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre appeared in a commercial for an energy drink, in which the director explains all kinds of over the top things he wants to happen in order to demonstrate all the energy. In the end, GSP just stands there with a bottle, staring expressionlessly into the camera and goes:
    "NOS Active helps give you energy. It comes in true refreshing flavours. Buy it. With your money."

  • Investigation Held by Kolobki features Chief, who keeps his cool even as an orangutan attempts to use him as a basketball or he reads a case file of a rare striped elephant that loves fish oil.

  • Steven Wright's on-stage persona is a perfect example of this trope. The jokes themselves are mildly-amusing puns ("I poured spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone."), but Wright's dead-pan delivery makes them even funnier.
  • Rowan Atkinson is well known for this when he isn't busy being comically way over the top instead. He seems to pull either one off with equal levels of comfort. His old 'Schoolmaster' sketch consists of him standing alone on stage and reading out a list of silly/naughty names such as Assbandit, Myprick, and Mr. Great-Big-Hard-Cock, all whilst maintaining a schoolmasterly air of discipline. The absurdity of the names combined with the character's deadpan delivery and utter contempt for any silliness results in comedy gold.
  • The stereotype of the Germans being what it is, this seems a rather inevitable result. There was even a worldwide poll that ranked Germany as the least funny country, which Stephen Colbert contested because they have a breakfast cheese called "Oberammergaueralpenkräuterdelikatessenfrühstückskäse."
    Colbert: The funny thing is, is by the time you're finished saying it they've invaded your country!
  • One (non-German) comedian had a bit he used to do in the 1980s at the Just For Laughs comedy festival where he pretended to be a German comedian, complete with accent, and played this for all it was worth.
    "Some people say that the German people are too obsessed with order and rules to make comedians. This is completely untrue, as I will show tonight. So, joke number one: take my wife, I command you." (audience immediately loses it)
  • Most satirists tend to be this way. They would say something that would be really outrageous and silly while keeping a straight face about it.
  • Seán Cullen does this particularly well with his songs. He uses his powerful, operatic voice, along with musical accompaniment and harmonizing from his guitarist, to sing some of the most hilariously batshit-crazy lyrics you'll ever hear. Here, free sample.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman often plays the unfunny role. Anything can be made funnier by adding Batman as the straight guy. A rare exception is found in the The Killing Joke, when The Joker tells him a joke that's so applicable to the two that it makes them both laugh. More typically: In Hush, when Nightwing and Batman are in the Batmobile discussing Catwoman (well, Nightwing is discussing her, Batman is glaring off into the distance ignoring him):
    Nightwing: If you don't want to talk with someone, why do you even have a passenger seat in the Batmobile?
    Batman: Balance.
    Nightwing: ...was that a joke? ...Of course not.
  • Cable to Deadpool's antics.
  • Previously, Cyclops would fulfill this role. As pointed out before by a few fans, personality wise, he's not unlike Batman, meaning that any situation from his perspective could become funnier, or more awesome. He once had a oneshot story a while back, that involved him fighting evil circus folk while stealing a man's bike and leaving an apologetic note afterwards. A lot of humour was derived from the situation he was in, his reaction, and the ending which turned a small number of bits into a Brick Joke. Sadly, The X-Men are being as serious as they can now, so no more comically serious adventures for Cyke.
  • Gaston Lagaffe: Most of Gaston's fellow employees are serious people who just want to do their jobs. At the far end of the scale, Mr. Boulier is the dapper, persnickety accountant who resents Gaston as a massive source of unplanned expenditures.
  • Anyone who hangs around The Joker for any length of time who is not named Harley Quinn and/or doesn't end up getting a whiff of laughing gas tends to become this by default. Not so much true in the Silver Age stories, in which the goons would often laugh along with their boss, but definitely so in most stories from the 1970s onward, and especially in stories from the '90s onward. There's Devil's Advocate, in which "Mister J" is tried in court for murder for the first time in his life and has his lawyer sign all his legal briefs with a lavender crayon (which the lawyer gladly does). Especially funny in the "Death of Batman" story arc, in which the Joker shoots a Snuff Film that's supposed to end with Batman being gunned down in a '40s-era café. Not only does an entire movie studio treat the Clown Prince like just another prima-donna filmmaker, but two stone-faced film critics who look just like Siskel & Ebert stop by and give the Joker's film a bad review. He shoots them both dead. ("TWO THUMBS DOWN!")
  • During Monsters Unleashed, Karnak of The Inhumans saw Kid Kaiju bring five made-up monsters to life and then combine with them into a huge megazord-thing, and his only response to the sight was "The legends never spoke of this".
  • Moon Knight: The title character is something of a Captain Ersatz of Batman, and usually takes this role when played against Spider-Man. Moon Knight is also insane, Depending on the Writer (and universe). For example, during a super-hero rooftop meeting in Ultimate Spider-Man #107:
    Spider-Man: Don't mind me, I'm just here for the chicken wings.
    Moon Knight: [confused] There... There are no chicken wings.
  • Plastic Man. Hard as it may be to believe these days, in his Golden Age Jack Cole comics he was the straight man surrounded by lunatics. Back then Plastic Man was a former criminal and was guilty of some rather serious crimes.
  • Similarly, The Punisher to... anyone he teams up with, really (you don't get much more serious than a man who shoots crime in the face). Deadpool is a common target, mostly because he can recover from Frank putting a bullet in his brain just to shut him up.
  • The Sandman (1989): Dream / Morpheus, either through being the straight man to the likes of Delirium or Immortal Immaturity. When his latest affair ends badly at the beginning of "Brief Lives", he starts brooding on the balcony like a teenager — and causes downpours throughout the Dreaming just to complete the pose.
  • Out of the lot of the villainous Secret Six, the role of comically serious goes to Bane. It says something when you try to act fatherly to a grown woman by treating her like a ten year old.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • The comic takes great glee in turning Ultra Magnus into an Exaggerated version of this trope. Getting him to smile is a literal life-and-death matter in one story. (And said smile is the creepiest thing you ever saw.) In another he literally cannot say the word "fun". He doesn't know the word "relax", either. And it's milked for all it's worth as regards showing how much his anal nature differs from the rest of the crew and placing him in silly situations and/or paired with silly characters. Sometimes he even manages to serve as the Straight Man to other characters who are usually the Straight Men themselves.
    • Megatron is less extreme, but still fills a similar role: apart from a bit of snark every now and then, he's too naturally grim and serious to be a traditional comedic mainstay. It reaches its apex when he and Ultra Magnus, in the same scene, come to the conclusion that they aren't cut out for comedy:
      Ultra Magnus: When I said that, I didn't... I was attempting to make a joke.
      Megatron: Yes, I know — I was running with it. There's a lot of banter on this ship; I thought I was ready to take the plunge.
      Ultra Magnus: I think we've both learned something from this.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Carol Danvers and Hawkeye turn into this when they can't stand all the crazy stuff going on around them, as opposed to Nick Fury, who takes it all in sarcastic enthusiasm.
    Nick Fury: Isn't this fun?
    Danvers: I'll be outside, shooting myself in the head, general.
    Fury: Try not to make a mess.
  • To a lesser extent, Wolverine tends to be this. Whenever he teams up with young girls (which happens more often than you might think, though an exception can be made for X-23 who is pretty much as hardened as he is).
  • X-23 herself, possibly even moreso. She's The Stoic in the extreme (and her Not So Stoic moments generally involve Heroic BSODs and bouts of suicidal depression), only rarely cracks a full smile, and has never truly been shown laughing in the ten years since she was first introduced in the books. She does have a subtle sense of humor, but generally a black one, and is a bit of a Deadpan Snarker (emphasizing the deadpan). Much humor is derived from Laura's completely serious reactions to the craziness that often surrounds the X-Men. Even during a day spent playing hooky from school with her cousin Megan (involving amusement parks, a Dazzler concert, and being buried in a pile of puppies and kittens), Laura's face never changes from her usual neutral expression.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, Ren Serizawa is this; with his stern and aloof demeanor comparative to Monarch and the Russells' grins, cheers or Jaw Drop when the Final Battle is going in the heroic Titans' favor, and with his She Is Not My Girlfriend.
  • Out to Lunch expands on Jadis and Uncle Andrew's... travels... in London in The Magician's Nephew. Jadis' egotism is in full force, and it's hilarious!
  • In A Wild Badfic Appeared! Commentaries, this is Lucina's gimmick; as shown below in the Video Game folder, she is like that in canon. What the others are able to laugh or snark off, she takes deadly seriously at face value, causing her to get provoked easily.
  • Batman (of course) in I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC. And he's occasionally the Only Sane Man, to boot.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Lampshaded when Team Four Star did Dragon Ball Z Kai Abridged, which covered the entire first season in 2 minutes. Tien's only line in this is "I'm the only serious character in this show. That's the joke."
    • Vegeta can be this as well, when he isn't Chewing the Scenery.
  • Naru-Hina Chronicles: Gaara has a pretty serious personality and speaks in a monotone way. This makes him a great candidate to make a situation funnier. Exhibit A: Gaara with a moustache.
  • Outsiders: Saito's starter, an Oshawatt named Ronin, acts as though he were an actual samurai. The other Pokémon like to poke fun at this.
  • Potter Puppet Pals: Snape, Snape, Sev-erus Snape... Everything he says is ridiculously serious, regardless of how silly it is.
  • The Assassin's Creed and Temeraire crossover fanfiction, Trade Winds, is narrated by Desmond Miles, and through his flippant narration, William Laurence's constant grave seriousness in the midst of all of the ridiculousness Desmond brings with him ends up taking on a rather amusing bend.
  • Felix in Spellbound (Lilafly) comes with a generous helping of Only Sane Man toward the entire (non-magical) world, but especially his much more excitable brother.
    Marinette: You're Adrien's brother.
    Felix: Unfortunately, yes.
    It is for my own wellbeing too when I say that you should give him a chance. Listening to his endless rambles of how you apparently hate him and how he can make it up to you, robs me of more sleep than I'd like to admit.

    Adrien: Felix, you have to see this!
    Felix: I would, if your behind wasn't blocking the entrance.
  • Ars Goetia: Byleth is portrayed as one. She takes everything at face value and responds to others with complete and utter seriousness. In one example, when she and the house leaders fall into Yggdrasil, after hearing that Claude's butt "has a crack in it", she orders him to take off his pants to heal him.
  • Shoto Todoroki in When Reason Fails. Due to his use of magic, he's The Stoic and unable to fully express his feelings. His habit of making deadpan comments and pulling out soda cans or popcorn bags whenever something entertaining happens makes him one of the fanfic's most hilarious characters.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the Kung Fu Panda series, Tigress struggles mightily to maintain her dignity at all times. She's the only one who takes her career as seriously as she does, probably even more than Shifu (who has his own moments that he tries to hide). Tigress is a natural at martial arts, but is utterly clueless when it comes to humor, children, or even partying, to the point that she refuses to try any of them and gets irritated when anyone tries to goad her into it. Po often tries to get her to lighten up, but getting a good smile out of her is mostly impossible, at least earlier in the series, though she's still pretty reserved later on. She hasn't exactly had the easiest life, though, so she sort of has an excuse.
  • Parodied to heck and back in The LEGO Movie, especially when Batman ends up in Cloud Cuckoo Land:
    Batman: [as a clown and a man in a dinosaur suit dance around him] I hate this place.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: In one of the first scenes of the movie, Lucy watches over a destroyed Bricksburg and delivers an ominous monologue about the alien invasion... only to be interrupted by Emmet, who's still as cheerful as ever.
  • Principal Celestia shows signs of this in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks. While everyone else (except Pinkie Pie and Sonata Dusk) is cringing at Snips and Snails' Piss-Take Rap, she and Vice-Principal Luna just stare with completely deadpan looks on their faces. Then, after a dreadful feedback-inducing Mic Drop, Celestia flatly says "Please do not drop the microphones."
  • Robin Robin: Magpie acts very dignified, but his obsession with little trinkets is comical to us human viewers. For example, Magpie thinks Robin is silly for wishing for crumbs or a sandwich, but to us, the objects he wants are just as insignificant, if not moreso.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Spider-Man Noir. His Hard Boiled Detective characterization matched against the humor and silliness of the other Spiders and the universe the movie's mainly set in does a lot to make him very humorous.
  • The Penguin King from The Super Mario Bros. Movie is dead serious about leading his troops to victory and talks big to Bowser... even after his Snowball Fight has zero effect on him and his Koopas.

    Game Shows 

  • Ax of Animorphs is an alien who doesn't quite understand human humor, but his weird mannerisms among other things make him into a very funny character.
    • Marco was convinced that the Yeerks did have a sense of humor because nobody as comically serious as them could do it unintentionally. Such gems of humor from the Yeerks include making an entrance to their secret lair under a McDonald's and then having the password be "I'd like a Happy Meal with extra happy" and having the audio for the self-destruct system announce "Base will Self-Destruct in 15 minutes. Have a nice day."
  • Discworld:
    • Most of the characters in the universe, but Vetinari and Vimes particularly stick out.
    • Also Granny Weatherwax. Just look at her experience with theater in Wyrd Sisters. To drive the home point about Granny:
      Granny Weatherwax: Get me an alligator sandwich... and make it quick!

      Terry Pratchett: Granny Weatherwax has absolutely no sense of humour but she has, as it were, heard about it. She has no grasp of how or why jokes work — she's one of those people who say "And then what happened?" after you've told them the punchline. She can vaguely remember the one-liner "Give me an alligator sandwich — and make it snappy!" but since she's got no idea of why it's even mildly amusing she gets confused... all that she can remember is that apparently the man wants it quickly.
    • Captain Carrot. Who will track down Death if he must, on the grounds that he's the only witness to a murder. It comes from his Dwarven upbringing (they think "irony" means "something like iron").
    • A Take Our Word for It example is Bouncy Normo, mentioned in The Fools Guild Diary. A man with No Sense of Humor whatsoever, he was, somehow, the funniest person on the Disc and never understood why. His Character Catchphrase was "What's everyone laughing about?" Eventually he was Driven to Suicide, and everyone who saw him do it had to be hospitalised because they were laughing so much.
  • Harry Potter: Amongst the Weasley family, Percy is the token ambitious and humorless child who tries to be above it all, which makes him suffering his brothers' antics all the more amusing.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen, who starts stoic and gets even worse once life mistreats her some more, and thus is forced to endure some hilarious stuff. Best example being during an Uncomfortable Elevator Moment with a stripping woman.
  • The eternally unflappable Jeeves of Jeeves and Wooster. His expressions and intonations never change as he responds rationally and politely to the ridiculous things that go on around him and the ramblings of his Cloudcuckoolander boss.
    Bertie: I suppose it bowled the poor blighter over absolutely?
    Jeeves: Mr. Bickersteth appeared somewhat taken aback, sir.
  • Psmith, frequently, swinging wildly between this and Comical Overreacting (typical example: he is blissfully serene as an Angry Mob attempts to pound him into hash, but loses his cool a few seconds later at the indignity of having to make his getaway on the public transport instead of in his usual secluded cab).
  • The narrator of The Remains of the Day is a butler who's trying very hard to develop a sense of humor late in life, because he thinks his new employer would appreciate it. His Spock Speak Wall of Text musings on the subject are very funny, until they reappear in the last scene.
  • The Rosie Project has Don Tillman, whose mental disorder (he appears to be in the autism spectrum) often results in him taking certain situations or conversations more seriously than he needs to.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen, Ahrek, Lyrah, and Cueseg all consider themselves to have the best sense of humor, but they play this role to each other, as their senses of humor are so incompatible. Whenever one is joking, the others suddenly have No Sense of Humor. In the few occasions when they aren't giving each other the Lame Pun Reaction or saying Dude, Not Funny!, it becomes Snark-to-Snark Combat, instead.
  • The Spirit Thief: Nico tries hard to invoke Emotionless Girl, leaving her defenceless in face of Eli's jokes and the World of Snark she lives in.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, Nicci, after her Heel–Face Turn, very much so.

  • Steve Bender, one of the two German members of the 80's multi-national band Dschinghis Khan. Lampshaded in several YouTube comments which mention how utterly serious he is, when compared with his more cheerful bandmates.
  • David Choi is so serious a video on YouTube is dedicated to making him laugh.
  • Just watch the unofficial video for "Whipped Cream" by Ludo and try to keep a straight face as long as the band does.
  • As an April Fools' Day joke in 2007, Alanis Morissette recorded a sad piano ballad cover of "My Humps" by The Black Eyed Peas.
  • German singer Max Raabe performs even the goofiest songs with teutonic stoicism.
  • Big Marvel, a Korean youtuber who does covers of popular songs. He's known for having a blank, unchanging expression even as he plays pop songs on plastic toy instruments, squeaky toys, and most famously, a rubber chicken.


  • Madame Director Lucretia from The Adventure Zone falls into this on a regular basis. She's the most professional and serious of all the members of the Bureau of Balance, but this isn't saying a whole lot when the organisation contains people like Magnus, Merle and Taako. She's perfectly willing to go along with their inanity if they keep getting results.
  • The The Thrilling Adventure Hour's Phillip Fathom, Deep Sea Detective, is an Expy of The Dark Knight Trilogy Batman in the decidedly Silver Age world of "The Adventures of Captain Laserbeam." Everything he says is spoken with serious intensity and in what other cast members describe as "screaming a hoarse whisper," even when all he's doing is getting ice cream.
    Ice Cream Teddy: Which one of you had toasted almonds?
    [a Batman-style Leitmotif begins to play]
    Phillip Fathom: I'M ALLERGIC TO NUTS!
    Ice Cream Teddy: Okay...

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WWE
    • Wrestler Steve Blackman often served as the Unfunny in a Tag Team with one of the federation's wackier wrestlers, including Cloudcuckoolander Al Snow and white-boy wannabe rapper Grandmaster Sexay.
    • "If I can be serious for a minute..." ECW/WCW/WWE alumnus Lance Storm also used a (fairly humorous) Unfunny gimmick ("Your days of unabashed hijinks are about to end."). The WWE Flanderised him into a robot-like Stoic who would later learn how to have "fun" and dance his way down to the ring. It's a far cry from his WCW and ECW days, where he was both Comically Serious and badass.
    • Kane, who for years had been the most serious of performers, had a point for about two or three years where he could be relied on for some of the best comedy moments — because no matter how many times he did it, you didn't expect Kane to crack jokes, except deadpan.
      • So there's a backstage spot with Booker T, Goldust and Kane, with Kane ominously looming over Goldust who had just been doing a (bad) impression of him. Suddenly Bradshaw comes in and says he's going to party after his big victory just now by going to see some hot lesbian action, and asks who wants to come along. Kane is the only one who raises his hand. The inversion of O.O.C. Is Serious Business only made his normally stoic persona all the better suited for the role.
      • The promo with Hulk Hogan and the Rock.
      • Kane on an August 2012 edition of Raw was being forced to attend anger management classes: when asked to describe some of the issues that made him angry, Kane, in a completely deadpan voice, described his ridiculous backstory and the most ridiculous plotlines he's been in ("I had a girlfriend named Katie Vick. That didn't end well.") which made his segment utterly hysterical compared to the more obviously comic Daniel Bryan part of the sketch.
      • The fact that it was riffing on Dr. Evil's Parent-child counseling likely helped.
  • Sara Del Rey was the so unfunny she was the funny opponent to the much more experienced Manami Toyota, who toyed with her, the super hero Leva Bates, the Hard-Drinking Party Girl ODB and the nowhere near as big and strong as they thought they were Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew among others. She was the serious minded tag team partner to hyper active Courtney Rush, arena devouring Chris Hero and Big Fun Bobby Dempsey, among others. A more experienced Del Rey would later have the opportunity for revenge against Toyota in Mike Quackenbush's Fun Filled Lucha Show, Chikara, where she yet again an example.
  • Beth Phoenix comes off as unfunny since she plays straight woman to the goofy tag team "All Knighters", her boyfriend Santino Marella, her intern Rosa Mendes, frequent tag team partner Jillian Hall and the crazy characters they tend to attract.
  • "Hey Tomko, gimme a beat." "No."
    • Further examples of this would shine during Tomko's term in TNA, specifically in 2007, with him shaking his head at moments such as Scott Steiner's fail-heavy mid-promo history lesson during a Team Cage celebration backstage and Christian Cage's claim in an at-home scene that he and his wife had "three kids" and "twins on the way" as he tried to inspire Tomko and AJ Styles to get revenge on Samoa Joe for him.
  • William Regal always did his best to maintain his dignity but would always get paired up with people like Tajiri, Eugene or Hornswoggle who would frustrate the hell out of him.
  • TNA had a segment where wrestlers were given the challenge of making Low Ki laugh. There were a half dozen failures before someone finally did it.
    • Before that, Low Ki played the trope VERY straight during Season Two of NXT's original incarnation under the ring name Kaval as he had LayCool as his Pros. His main interaction with them was standing there, silent, holding both copies of the WWE Women's title belts, while Michelle McCool and Layla cranked up the bubbly airhead factor.
  • Silas Young manages to consistently be the most serious man in Ring of Honor, a promotion that bills itself as being more serious than TNA. The least serious thing he's done is prove he was in fact capable of having friends by introducing The Beer City Bruiser, a big fat man in the tiniest trunks the television deal will allow who is the much more laid back of their resulting tag team.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show frequently comments on his own program in a condescending tone, usually tripping up over his own hypocrisy (he once follows up a complaint about how uncultured the show is with a comment that the guest of the week, ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, is his "favorite opera singer") or not being aware how silly things actually are (his favorite skit on the show is the "classy" duets by Wayne and Wanda, which always end in some slapstick disaster).
    Sam: [to the audience] I wish to announce I am officially disassociating myself from this whole weird, sick show. Thank you.

  • Bob & Ray had a number of interview sketches that used this — with one (usually Bob) as himself, trying to make sense out of the other as the increasingly loopy subject.
  • In The Men from the Ministry the newsreader Bryan Martin will report the most ridiculous things caused by One and Two's bunglings with utter seriousness, no matter how much of an insane chaos London is in.
  • Wiretap: Jonathan Goldstein as portrayed in most of the "conversations" on his radio show.

    Tabletop Games 
  • For all the potential darkness of the character, Leonardo de Montreal from Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine can be comedy gold because of his deeply serious approach to the goofiness he is likely to be exposed to, especially if Rinley or Chuubo is also present.
  • Warhammer 40,000 was originally meant to be an over-the-top parody of the Darker and Edgier direction a lot of games were taking when it was released. A good deal of the humor was meant to come from the seriousness of the Imperium of Man, especially contrasted with da Orkz. Unfortunately (and fortunately, in some cases) this was dropped for a more serious setting that started to go in the extreme direction it used to parody. Thus the game itself has become Comically Serious to many of its fans.
    • The lore has occasional incidents where Space Marines - biologically enhanced Super Soldiers whose entire lives consist of war and preparing for war, for whom an hour of relaxation time in a day is considered borderline decadent - have to interact with ordinary civilians in relative peacetime. Outside of the Salamanders, they are almost always tremendously unprepared for this, because the average Space Marine typically only interacts with other Space Marines, military officers in other branches, and on very rare occasions the Inquisition; to the normal Space Marine mindset, civilians are a thing to stand in front of so they don't get shot at by Orks. This, in turn, leads to things like very serious, very powerful and very, very large genetic supermen in giant suits of Powered Armour telling babies that they are very small.
  • The game Nice Marines, an Affectionate Parody of Warhammer 40,000's Space Marines, is entirely about very serious soldiers who haven't spoken to a civilian in 200 years having to carry out relatively mundane tasks like looking after children because the people who are actually supposed to be doing it are running late.

  • Malvolio from William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night is often played this way.
  • Holofernes in Love's Labour's Lost treats every single conversation as a matter of huge acadmeic import—in one scene, his reaction to being mistakenly delivered a love letter is to proofread it. Along with his friend Sir Nathaniel, their pompous and pretentions of intellectulism quickly render them completely absurd.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest is a Word of God. Oscar Wilde wrote acting instructions in the original text of the play, calling for the entire cast to perform as gravely as possible; he felt (perhaps rightly so) if they treated the subject matter too lightly the satire would be lost. Essentially, there is a note about the importance of being earnest in The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • In performances by Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo, female roles are taken by male dancers, but it's performed, as it were, entirely straight.

    Theme Parks 
  • Just before releasing a revamped Star Tours ride, Disney released this. Darth Vader having fun on the rides at Disneyland is a sight to behold.
  • The Angry Splash Mountain Lady meme. It's basically exactly what it sounds like, a picture of people having fun riding Disney World's Splash Mountain ride, but with one lady looking utterly deadpan and angry.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney series:
    • Miles Edgeworth. He tries so hard to be stoic and professional no matter the circumstances that you can practically see the target painted on him. Wendy Oldbag and Larry Butz are his main tormentors, but just about the entire cast has taken a turn pushing him off balance for the sake of humor.
    • And, to a lesser extent, Phoenix. His finger-pointing antics pale in comparison to the quirks of the Bunny Ears Lawyers he has to deal with on a daily basis.
    • Shelly de Killer, gentleman assassin and ice cream eater.
    • Also Edgeworth's mentor Manfred von Karma. The man demands that his ATM PIN (0001) be entered as evidence proving his perfection. And he does it with a straight face.
    • For all his own Bunny-Ears Lawyer qualities, Apollo Justice fits into this as well. He tries his damnedest to act professional, but it's made hard when his assistant is a quirky magician who uses magic panties and a large, wooden puppet for tricks, the prosecutor he usually faces is a rock star on the side and air guitars in court, the detective he teams up with is generally apathetic and likes to throw snacks at his head, and his mentor is spacey and rather condescending. That's not even getting into his attempts to be serious around the usual insanity of the witnesses. And just imagine him screaming "I'M FINE!" as a pep talk in a courthouse waiting room.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Korekiyo Shinguji, the normally stoic and aloof Ultimate Anthropologist, veers into this trope at times, though the standout example is when he first enters his research lab and he drops the stoicism entirely, darting around like a kid on Christmas and gushing over everything that catches his eye.
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: Not only does Sachi do whatever she’s asked completely seriously, but she also has a surprisingly wicked tongue on her.
  • In more lighthearted contexts, Shuu from Hatoful Boyfriend is often this. A somewhat stoic, logically-minded, and murderous villain, sillier scenes in the games and manga use him as a contrast to the wacky antics going on around him, and do things such as depicting him surfing in an Imagine Spot (with the protagonist musing that it doesn't suit him), and subjecting him to a pair of Christmas-obssessed gag characters who insist on decorating his office and making him wear a Santa hat.
  • Mai Kawasumi in Kanon, due to her uniqueness in not rising to all of Yuichi's jokes and kidding. Just watch her at lunch or when Yuichi considers groping her just to get some kind of a reaction... and nearly getting beheaded before even starting to move.
  • Mystic Messenger:
    • Jumin. His Establishing Character Moment is him revealing that his cat's name is Elizabeth the 3rd and ordering the other RFA members to not disrespect her, all with complete seriousness.
    • Jaehee, Jumin's assistant, is almost as serious as he is (except when she's fangirling over Zen) and frequently sighs in exasperation at the other characters' zany antics. One of the game's funniest moments comes when she types up a serious and thoughtful response to a joking comment from Zen that's so long that Zen logs out before she can finish it.
  • Ace from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, especially around Santa. Until you get the safe ending. Then he's just plain terrifying.
  • Miku in A Profile. Be careful what you tell very serious people to do, Masayuki. They might do as you ask... and then you'll have them saying 'I love you' with a deadpan face during every pause in the conversation.
  • In a particularly Mood Whiplash-inducing example, Deathstroke is turned into this at the end of Chapter 9 of Rakenzarn Tales. Then again, that kinda happens to anyone when they're up against Deadpool.
  • Super Robot Wars: Even in humorous scenes, Raidese F. Branstein keeps up his stoic disposition.
  • Though it isn't often, Nero Chaos of Tsukihime, thousand year-old uber-vampire with a body comprised of 666 demon beasts composed of pure chaos, is sometimes called into this role during side stories. His crowning moment? Participating in an involved game of tag.

    Web Animation 
  • Many Non Player Characters in Courier's Mind: Rise of New Vegas come across as this when dealing with The Courier, who has many quirks typical of "Mind" type protagonists.
  • Dreamscape: Keela's sullen and stoic attitude really makes her stand out among her more expressive and upbeat comrades.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killer's brooding, serious attitude is in sharp contrast to the more expressive members of the cast.
  • Benrey from Half-Life but the AI is Self-Aware reacts to everything with apathetic boredom and never shows any kind of emotion, even when he's harassing people about their passports, behaving like a bratty toddler, or seeing any of the truly ridiculous antics the rest of the cast get up to.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • The show interprets Rogal Dorn as one of these types. He's permanently serious and straight-faced, never considers saying anything other than the bluntest truth, and takes absolutely everything at face value no matter how sarcastic the other characters get. He can't even be offended properly; at best you'll get polite disagreement. When the Custodian has to summon Kaldor Draigo to stop Magnus's uncontrollable rampage through the Palace, Draigo promptly does so, so quickly that the Custodian doesn't even see it happen. Unfortunately, this is Kaldor Draigo, and his grip on reality is... questionable, and the entire conversation is filled with Drago spouting babbling nonsense and the Custodian being utterly confused. When Draigo finally leaves, floating up into the sky and vanishing, everything goes silent, followed by:
      Rogal Dorn: [utterly deadpan] I suspect that he was high on narcotics.
    • Corvus Corax, albeit in a different direction: His seriousness is of the angsty type, being as emo as they come when he's allowed to and just annoyed by the world when it won't let him wax poetical about whatever misery's happening at the moment. The universe doesn't hesitate to make him the butt of a joke, and he's usually blindsided every time, adding yet another thing to be miserable or irritated about. Vulkan's cheery, overly-affectionate presence doesn't help either.
  • In Lackadaisy, as rival gangmember Rocky begins a Construction Vehicle Rampage, strait-laced, stone-serious Consummate Professional Mordecai is forced into a series of escalating Eye Takes while Rocky's dynamite tosses repeatedly defeat his attempts to line up sniper shots. His dignity is further pierced when Rocky blows up a water tower, and Mordecai reacts to the flooding in the manner of a domestic cat crossed with a Neat Freak, all bulging eyes and hissing. The Stinger has his boss lampshade his misery for his own amusement.
    Mordecai: *in a phone booth, removing his shoe to dump out water* It seems we have a more considerable problem at hand.
    Asa Sweet: What? Someone mussed your hair? You got some dirt on ya? *cackles*
    Mordecai: *deadpan* As a matter of fact, yes.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Agent Washington from Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction behaves like an actual agent from a secret military in the future. Contrasts well with the wacky mishaps of the main cast. He eventually shows himself to be Not So Above It All.
    • Earlier in the series, Tex also qualifies. Though to a lesser degree. Her toughness was played for action and being a badass, rather than humor.
    • Then comes an amalgalm of both, Carolina, an Action Girl with a serious agenda... which forces her to team up with the bickering idiots of the main cast. She, much like Washington, eventually assimilates.
  • RWBY has Lie Ren, mostly when calm demeanor provides a huge contrast to his Genki Girl partner Nora Valkyrie. Special mention comes from such a stoic guy suddenly bearing a pink chef apron.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja is this trope applied to an entire webcomic. The main character is an Irish Ninja Doctor, who's friends with a cloned Benjamin Franklin, has a gorilla for a secretary, and has a sidekick in the form of a kid bandito with a gloriously huge mustache and his velociraptor. And it only gets weirder from there. However, the comic never seems to realize how utterly insane it is.
  • Awkward Zombie: Marth. Considering that he has to share a house with the characters from the Smash-verse doesn't help. The artist has noted with some worry that canon Marth is significantly more genki than her interpretation. That's what you get from making up a personality from scratch.
  • Batman and Sons plays up on the trope's application to Bats (and as much of the rest of the Batfamily/DC Universe as possible) for all its worth.
  • Clown Corps: Agent Binky is a straight-laced, no nonsense special agent working for an organization of crimefighting clowns.
  • El Goonish Shive: Susan occasionally fills this role, due to her serious attitude towards pretty much everything. Due to this, she is, among other things, a favorite cuddling perch for Tedd's cat-hedgehog Jeremy. In addition, a early running gag established that, whenever she did anything overly cheerful, it was so alien to her usual personality that it couldn't be anything but hilarious (to us).
  • Girl Genius: Referenced when an actor in the travelling Heterodyne show explains his character: "Klaus keeps his dignity, or tries to. That's what makes him funny."
  • Guilded Age: GRAVEDUST . Seriously. Keynes herself states that she finds his serious facial expressions hilarious. Case in point: The People's Eyebrow
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
  • Homestuck:
    • Equius is stubbornly serious and uptight and tries to maintain an aura of dignity that he feels befitting his noble birth. As a result, he often ends up playing the straight man to his much more eccentric fellows.
    • Scene: Andrew Hussie is about to be killed by Lord English, an invincible, omnicidal, time-traveling demon. Problem: Lord English has an expressionless Skull for a Head, and doesn't say a single word while his victim (who is currently dressed up as a space alien, mind you) compares his demise to a herd of horses, tries to kill him with magic, or throws a pistol at his head. Cue the embarrassingly long animated gif of a gun sliding down English's unharmed, unemotive face.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: Orca is very serious and down-to-earth. Unfortunately for him, the rest of the cast isn't, making him perfect for punchlines.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: Bob could hardly be called grim (more like "extremely mellow"), but he lives this trope. At one point he casually asks Jerry the MIB whether he should put up some kind of screens to keep spaceships from constantly crashing into his roof, and asks how Jerry deals with the problem at his house.
  • Lackadaisy: Mordecai Heller is the poster child (or would that be poster cat?) for this trope, as lampshaded in this comic.
  • Worf unsurprisingly takes on this role in Larp Trek. Picard has his moments, too.
  • Manly Guys Doing Manly Things tends to employ Sten in this role.
  • morphE features Asia, an emotionally stunted reporter who treats every situation as serious. During the second chapter her captor is attempting to charm her and approaches from many different angles, asking probing questions, playing to her talents. When all attempts are met with flat and bland replies he attempts humor and fails miserably.
  • Raizel from Noblesse is an absolutely quite personification of The Stoic. Yet his unfamiliarity with modern technology is the primary source of humor early in the series.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy is the realistic Deadpan Snarker and Straight Man to the rest of his party's wacky hijinks. His death led to the rest of the party having various breakdowns both comedically and mentally. Fortunately, he got better.
    • Vaarsuvius has had their moments, too.
      V: Fascinating. Durkon, I have just now formulated a theory that encompasses both Nale's most likely method of engagement and the most suitable response on our part.
      V: Ah, I see you have already grasped the core principles of my theory.
    • Strips featuring the Lawyers, Mr. Jones and Mr. Rodriguez, that don't center on Evil Lawyer Jokes tend to instead focus on Mr. Jones' status as this. A never-smiling, serious man with a nutty, scatter-brained partner, Mr. Jones serves as the Straight Man to his partner's antics and the ridiculous situations they often find themselves in.
  • Paranatural: A lot of Mr Garcia's comedy comes about from his turning up in absurd situations with a deadpan expression (such as floating down a stream fully dressed) or having to deal with his Large Ham boyfriend, Mr Spender.
  • From Peter and Company, we have Korgar, an orc with No Indoor Voice...who happens to be a teacher at the title character's school.
  • Pixie and Brutus: A large part of the comic's humor comes from Brutus continuing to act like a military dog in the much friendlier setting of a normal house, especially when contrasted with Pixie's innocence and enthusiasm.
  • Princess Chroma has Spiders, June's stern, upright mentor... whose convictions are somewhat undermined by the fact that he's a bunny rabbit.
  • Bubbles in Questionable Content is very precise and restrained, and extremely intense beneath this, and while her Tragic Backstory isn't played for laughs, her resulting seriousness frequently is, especially in contrast with Faye. However, as she's developed more, she's displayed a very dry sense of humour on occasion. There are some moments when it's not clear if she's missed the joke, or gets it better than anyone else.
  • In Roommates, Erik, Javert, and James all tend to fill this role, especially when they generally remain in-character and are pitted against the magical antics of Jareth.
  • Shortpacked!:
    • As shown in our page image, the comic has put forward the notion that Batman is comedy gold, based solely on the fact that combining him with anything mundane produces instant laughter as his Batman's grim demeanor makes him the ultimate straight-man.
    • On Twitter, the author suggested the same was true of Gendo Ikari, which was followed up with this strip.
    • Gardening, beekeeping, houseworking, and dancing.
  • The Dragon in Sinfest is constantly amused by the whole God vs. Devil enmity and regards their squabbles as the popcorn time. When nothing of this sort already goes on, he(?) can do it himself:
    Dragon: Great Buddha. The time has come...
  • Sakido from Slightly Damned spends most of her time brooding, a pastime which is considerably hampered by living in the same dimension as her goofy, affectionate brother Buwaro.
  • Tag, a warship A.I. for Tagon's mercenaries in Schlock Mercenary, tends to react to any situation with absolute, deadpan seriousness, while still producing a punchline. The two weeks following this strip are a good demonstration.
  • Two Guys and Guy has Frank, who probably best epitomized the trope here.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • This is the main joke of the dubbed version of Backstroke of the West: the script is a Translation Train Wreck of Revenge of the Sith, meaning that the main reason to listen to it is to hear people say lines like "He is in my behind!" or "The general space can always succeed to succeed" as if it was regular dramatic dialogue.
  • CinemaSins: On this website/YouTube channel, a narrator shows clips from movies while "judging" them for their (perceived) (Cinema)sins. Because of his pedanticness and sometimes getting really worked up about minor things, this comes across as funny. However it is downplayed by the fact that he isn't really serious, just assuming that role, and everything is meant to be tongue in cheek.note 
  • Fredrik Knudsen's Down the Rabbit Hole series combines utterly serious, deadpan narration with some of the most absurd topics imaginable. A frequent occurrence is Fredrik reading internet postings out loud exactly as they are written, pronouncing all of the spelling and grammar mistakes, while still remaining as deadpan as ever.
  • Tien in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. As he says in Dragon Ball Z Kai Abridged'' Episode 1:
    Tien: I am the only serious character in the show. That's the joke.
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party, the famous writers gathered for the murder mystery game refuse to take the very real murders that start happening seriously. Except for the two gothic writers, Edgar Allan Poe and Mary Shelley, who seem incapable of not taking anything seriously, no matter how trivial.
    Edgar: Parties aren't the place for jokes, Lenore.
  • One of the Hydraulic Press Channel's claims to fame is its host's commentary, which sounds ridiculously deadpan and serious to most viewers. The host himself isn't really The Stoic very often, as he often smiles and laughs when on camera.
  • In the MLP Analysis community, whenever you have several analysts interacting, Dr. Wolf generally ends up in this role. The others can get pretty nuts and easily overreact, but he always stay grounded and serious, creating a hilarious contrast. Just look at the "Analyst Bronies React to Season 6 Finale" video for a very good example. Or most of TF2 Analysis for that matter.
  • This drives much of the humor behind Internet Historian's videos. He has a sophisticated accent and speaks in a calm, cool, and erudite way much like a university professor would be expected to speak. This makes the utterly ludicrous nature of the things he covers, like the abysmal launches of No Man's Sky and Fallout 76, /pol/ "playing" international "capture the flag" with Shia LaBeouf against his will, comically-failed conventions, and Trolls rigging online contests so Mountain Dew would name their new softdrink "Hitler Did Nothing Wrong" outright hilarious to listen to. He rarely cracks, only occasionally Corpsing and has audibly been angry once, maybe twice across all his videos, which is made even funnier by his constant use of Hide The Pain Harold for his avatar.
  • Ninja Brian comfortably fills this role whenever he joins in on Game Grumps, Steam Train, and the like. Being a theoretical physicist with a pHD, he is very well-spoken and says everything with complete deadpan matter-of-fact sincerity, making his arrogant boasting about how good he is at games while losing said games or his descriptions of ludicrous gameplay mechanics we normally take for granted utterly hilarious.

    Real Life 
  • From the animal kingdom:
    • Part of the reason why animals like chickens are so funny. They lack facial expressions, which make them look serious all the time. The illusion is heightened by their prim and proper stance and mannerisms, and thus they look silly when they freak out about something.
    • Cats, too. It helps a lot that cats have such humanlike faces that people subconsciously think cats can smile, heightening the disconnect. Cats hold themselves in such a dignified manner and are often quite fastidious and neurotic, which makes their (actually quite common) clumsy or goofy moments even funnier.
    • Frogs and toads too. They tend to look like they're pondering or judging something, and because they are ectothermic, they can remain completely stoic and still for quite some time. This makes it all the more funny when they're casually sitting in a toilet bowl, croaking for a mate or making a high-pitched screech that sounds like a deflating balloon.
    • Thanks to their fluffy faces and squinty eyes, tibetan sand foxes appear to have a sullen, judgmental expression.
  • British Royal Guards are often seen as this, especially by foreigners. This results in the occasional ignorant traveler believing said guards absolutely have to stand still no matter what you do to them, and instead end up crapping their pants when the guard shoves the barrel of his rifle in their face and hollers "BACK AWAY FROM THE GUARD!!!"
  • Museum exhibits try to be stoic and serious about everything, and in some cases can result in this trope. To quote from the National Infantry Museum in Georgia, regarding a piece of hardtack from the Spanish-American War:
    A staple of the soldier's diet was this hard-baked bread. Note that a soldier chose to memorialize his service on this item rather than eat it.
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is legendary for his downbeat and curmudgeonly public personality, a visible contrast from most of his peers. Despite, or because of his "grumpy old man" image, he's viewed as a potent source of Memetic Mutation and a wellspring of dry humor. Behind the scenes, his sense of humor is more apparent. For example, when WR Randy Moss suggested that the players throw a Halloween party, he not only allowed it, but showed up dressed as a pirate.
  • Chess grandmaster and world champion Magnus Carlsen is known among chess fans for his bone-dry sense of humor and ability to crack subtle jokes without a single change in tone or expression. A particularly notable instance was when fellow grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura played the Bongcloud Attack (one of the worst openings in chess, in which you use your king to block two of your own pieces on the second move) in a tournament game and Carlsen was called on to analyze the move. He proceeded to provide a joke lesson on terrible chess openings while remaining entirely deadpan the whole time.
    • And then he reduced Nakamura (and most of the commentators) to fits of laughter by playing the Bongcloud Attack against him.
  • During the 2023 SAG Awards, one category was presented by Aubrey Plaza, who is typecast as an Emotionless Girl, and Jenna Ortega, who just played one of the textbook cases of that on Wednesday. Hilarity caused by this trope ensued.

Alternative Title(s): The Unfunny, Unfunny, Comically Serious


Kalego at Walter Park

The serious, strict and somewhat gloomy Professor Kalego is forced to have fun at Walter Park with his students. Hilarity ensues.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheComicallySerious

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