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  • The humor of Loriot, probably Germany's most famous comedian, is always this, revolving around people in awkward situations who always keep appearances and manners, which only makes the situations more absurd and hilarious, and frankly, embarrassing. A great deal of his early humor is attributed to the fact that people in Germany in the 60s actually did behave a lot like that and he was merely pointing out the absurdity of trying to keep one's dignity by ignoring the embarrassment.

  • 'Allo 'Allo!: Officer Crabtree. Arguably one of the most outrageous characters in the series, with the straightest face. Probably because he has no idea how horrendous his French is...
    • After his first take he was told to "do it again, but like it wasn't funny".
  • Anderson Cooper 360: Wolf Blitzer Invoked this trope when he was guest-hosting an episode. The show has a light-hearted segment called "The Ridiculist", and Wolf decided to use it to get back at Anderson for making fun of his new glasses. He showed many examples of Anderson Corpsing, and then showed how he can say even the most childishly ridiculous statement with a straight face.
    The pussy willows blowing in the wind on the shores of Lake Titicaca are almost as magical as (beat) Uranus.
  • The Apprentice: PR consultant and professional snoop Nick Hewer has shades of this, which the editors occasionally play up - the man's so deadpan that the second he comes within five metres of a stuffed toy he becomes instantly funny. The real life equivalent of the Batman comedy mannequin. Following an appearance on a popular BBC panel show, however, it turned out that the Apprentice team had, if anything, been downplaying Nick's deadpan genius. And all he had to do was wear a jumper and make some faces...
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  • Arrested Development: Wayne Jarvis, the self-described consummate professional.
    Michael: Are you serious?
    Wayne: Almost always. I was once voted the worst audience participant Cirque Du Soleil ever had.
  • Arrow: Oliver often plays this role next to the likes of Barry and Ray, who are quite enthusiastic.
    • Nyssa sometimes plays this role as well, particularly in the scene where Laurel takes her to a diner and buys her a milkshake and fries.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The series got a fair amount of mileage out of putting the frequently very serious Commander Susan Ivanova into ridiculous situations. Like the time she had to wrap her head around the fact that there were, in fact, ten identical-looking fur-wearing, hairy caretakers of the Great Machine, all of them called Zathras. She probably was intended to do this even more often, but the actress lobbied to let her character be less staunch.
    • G'Kar usually becomes this when he's interacting with Londo, especially once their Odd Friendship starts developing. There's a blooper reel that plays on this dynamic. Londo explains that G'Kar is his bodyguard. G'Kar, dead serious, puts on a pair of Cool Shades.
      Londo: He cleaned out the liquor cabinet on First Class.
  • Batman:
  • The Big Bang Theory: Dr. Sheldon Cooper. In fact, it's pretty much his entire shtick (aside from neurosis, passive-aggressiveness and love of trains).
  • Bones:
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Captain Raymond Holt plays this to a T. In a twist, though, the character is far from entirely serious, he just expresses himself in a very subdued, very stoic fashion. Mostly.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
      • Seth Green as Oz. Also, Giles.
      • Anya Jenkins, by a long shot.
        Dawn: [with chopsticks hanging from her mouth] When I was younger, I used to put my chopsticks in my mouth like this, and then Buffy would chase me around the house yelling, "I am the Slayer! I'm going to get you!"
        Anya: That's disturbing. You're emotionally scarred and will end up badly.
      • Angel. The fact that he's periodically-evil while his companions are all Happy Meals with legs might have something to do with all the jokes at his expense, to keep him grounded. When he becomes Angelus it's more a matter of Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor.
    • Indeed, much of the humor on Angel's own show was derived from his being deadpan in comical or bizarre situations, or how absolutely seriously he took his role as Brooding Hero of the Night With a Dark Past, to the point where it became a bit absurd. Cases in point: his dancing (it's dreadful but thankfully imaginary), leaping heroically into the wrong convertible and thereby averting a car chase scene, the discovery that he enjoys Barry Manilow but cannot sing to save his unlife, and dressing up in a ridiculous tourist outfit in order to apparently annoy information out of a local mafia boss. All of these he treats with complete seriousness or hides to keep his brooding cred.
      • The best was when he was turned into a muppet in "Smile Time". For most of an episode he was a dour, brooding, serious fuzzy puppet while everyone else was intensely amused.
      • In episode five of season three, "Fredless", Cordelia and Wesley subject the Buffy/Angel relationship to something that goes beyond a send-up and into a blow-up, leading to this immortal line from Wesley: "Oh Buffy, I love you so much I almost forgot to BROOD!"
      • Earlier, in the season two episode "Guise Will Be Guise", Cordelia gave this impression of Angel: "Oh no, I can't do anything fun tonight. I have to count my past sins, then alphabetize them. Oh, by the way, I'm thinking of snapping on Friday."
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Heather is so apathetic to almost everything that even when she graduates community college, she sings a song with no enthusiasm behind it.
  • Criminal Minds: Hotch gets a lot of mileage out of this trope. He's an immensely deadpan Deadpan Snarker on a team of people with much more overt senses of humour and a tendency to play pranks and get up to other sorts of shenanigans, so he's ended up with a reputation as having no sense of humour. And he usually is the straight man to the silliness, but he's actually quite goofy when given the opportunity (usually around his son, Jack), so it seems that he sometimes plays up being serious for comedic effect.
  • The Daily Show: Jon Stewart is not generally this, but when paired with his correspondents for a bit, will oftentimes take on this role as the serious straight newsman/interviewer.
  • Dead Ringers: Both in radio and television format, humour is derived from having BBC newsreader Kirsty Wark reading out song lyrics completely stone-faced as if they were actual news.
    Wark: You liar, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot. Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it's your last. ... more on that story later.
  • Doctor Who: The Daleks are Omnicidal Maniacs genetically engineered to have no sense of humour whatsoever. Funny Moments involving them tend to take advantage of this fact:
    • "The Daleks' Master Plan": The Daleks come across a pair of mice transported to the planet Mira along with the Doctor and his companions.
      "An alien device. There are small white creatures inside. They may be hostile."
    • "Doomsday" features an immortal Ham-to-Ham Combat involving the Daleks and the equally humour-challenged Cybermen verbally bitching at each other. In the words of Mickey Smith, "It's like Stephen Hawking versus the speaking clock."
      Cybermen: You will identify first.
      Dalek Jast: State your identity!
      Dalek Jast: Daleks have no sense of elegance!
      Cyberman: This is obvious.
    • "Victory of the Daleks": Not having any expertise with Earth foods, when the Eleventh Doctor claims that a Jammy Dodger (a type of biscuit/cookie) is a remote for the (nonexistent) TARDIS self-destruct, the Daleks are forced to take him completely seriously.
  • Fawlty Towers:
    • Various guests, including Mr. Hutchison from "The Hotel Inspectors", and the Abbots from "The Psychiatrist", and especially Dr Price from "The Kipper and the Corpse".
      Dr Price: Look, I'm a doctor. I'm a doctor and I want my sausages!
    • Basil Fawlty himself was designed with this trope in mind. John Cleese has mentioned in interviews that the guiding principle he had when designing Fawlty was that someone having something embarrassing happen to them isn't funny; someone having something embarrassing happen to them and trying to press on as though everything is normal is hilarious.
  • Future Cop: When a waitress tries to flirt with Haven by saying she can guess his sign, he says, "Is there one showing?" She laughs and says, "Finally, a cop with a sense of humor!"
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show gives us the perpetually-dour Stannis Baratheon. As Loras Tyrell says, he has the personality of a lobster, but his deadpan Brutal Honesty and constantly exasperated Facial Dialogue make him surprisingly funny in the rare moments of levity in his appearances.
      Davos Seaworth: Lord Celtigar called it admirable.
      Stannis: Had I shown him the contents of my privy, he would have called that admirable too.
    • Tywin Lannister, as seen with interactions with Tyrion during his wedding, as Tywin unexpectedly slips in to the role of straight man to his son. Other incidents include giving a version of The Talk to Tommen in the Sept of Baelor, and trying to talk with Oberyn Martell in a brothel... with Oberyn offering him a seat right where a male prostitute had been laying with Oberyn.
    • Missandei and Grey Worm's interactions with Tyrion in Season 6 amount to this. He spends the majority of the season trying to get them to make a joke. Grey Worm is even more so this than Missandei, he is extremely awkward during his conversations with Tyrion. However, the latter finally gets him to make a joke in the penultimate episode of the season (in the most deadpan way possible).
  • iCarly: Freddie's temporary bodyguard Gunsmoke. Like when he smashed Spencer's snow cone machine.
    Gunsmoke: For all I knew it could've been full of plastic explosives or chemical weapons.
    Spencer: Well it wasn't!
    Gunsmoke: (beat) Then can I have a snow cone?
  • In Treatment: Amy's matter-of-fact descriptions of her sexual encounters in the past and present fall under this trope.
  • Kamen Rider: More recent shows have developed a real love of having a stoic Rider among the heroic cast for comedy value.
    • Chase from Kamen Rider Drive is a biomechanical being with a poor (at best) grasp of human emotions, paired with a police division staffed by the goofs, weirdos, and rejects from the rest of the department, so naturally Hilarity Ensues. In one memorable episode, the Special Division hatches a plan to deal with an Obstructive Bureaucrat that involves Chase "attacking" him while pretending to be a rampaging monster; his performance amounts to waving his arms around stiffly and half-heartedly growling, which the rest of the team sells by hamming it up like their lives depend on it.
      • This gets played up in Chase's stand-alone movie, where he's given a Personality Chip and the sight of him acting like a normal human being (smiling, talking cheerfully about the weather, making little jokes) initially freaks everybody out.
    • Hiiro Kagami of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid always wears a blank expression. It doesn't matter if he's eating a cake, fighting monsters, or talking to his much zanier father. A prime example comes late in the series, where he and Taiga finally mend fences. Hiiro starts treating him more respectfully, including calling him "Doctor Hanaya", but Taiga says that it's kind of weirding him out...which prompts Hiiro to revert to his previous behavior, going stone-faced and calling Taiga "Unlicensed Doctor". After a Beat, Taiga says "...Doctor Hanaya is fine."
    • Gentoku Himuro from Kamen Rider Build is an unusual example in that, at the outset of the series, he was a perfectly cold and serious villain. Later on it's revealed that he's a good person who was put under the effects of a Hate Plague that inverted his personality; once freed from its grip, he undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and joins "Team Build". This is the point where the audience learns that his fashion sense is ludicrously gaudy (he wears things like straw baseball caps, cut-off jean shorts and transparent jackets), but he doesn't see anything wrong with it and actually gets offended when the rest of the crew is creeped out by him. When he finally settles into a more reasonable ensemble of a leather jacket and jeans, he takes to wearing Fun T Shirts under the jacket and using them in place of verbal responses, to the confusion of his allies.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O: Much like Hiiro Kagami mentioned above, Geiz Myoukoin bases most of his reputation on mantaining a stone face. Unlike Kamen Rider Brave's occurence, the story is hellbent on putting him in situations straining his ability to do so like being zerg rushed by children, Sougo getting into weird, hardly comprehensible situations or just Sougo in general.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver showcases C-SPAN's Steve Sculley, aka "The Most Patient Man on Television" as a glorious example given he barely changes his expression while receiving batshit\bigoted viewer phone calls.
  • M*A*S*H:
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • Spoofed when a man talking and acting in a blandly everyday manner causes convulsive laughter in everyone he walks past.
    • And that's even an obscure reference. Does no one remember the Colonel? "Now I do my best to keep things moving along, but I'm not having things getting silly." He started as the straight man in his own sketch, and they kept using him to end a sketch for which they had not written a punch line.
      Colonel: Right! Stop that! Silly! And a bit suspect, I think...
    • Generally speaking, Graham Chapman has been described by other Pythons as hating the stereotype of the man who knows that he's funny, in comedy, which is why so many of the characters he played can definitively be described as The Comically Serious.
  • MythBusters: Jamie Hyneman is one of the quintessential examples, in contrast to co-host Adam Savage, who delights in clowning.
    • In the episode where they tested the concept of Latex Perfection, Adam got a lot of mileage out of acting zany while disguised as Jamie (though he was able to pull off serious too). On the other hand, Jamie had a hard time acting appropriately goofy while disguised as Adam.
  • NewsRadio: The whole reason Dave Foley was cast as Dave Nelson (a character created with him in mind) was the fact that Foley has a talent for getting laughs by subtly and seriously reacting to funny or crazy things, more so than the actors who are actually doing them, as creator Paul Simms discovered by watching him steal scenes opposite the Chicken Lady.
  • The Orville’s Bortus and Isaac mirror TNG's Worf and Data, respectively:
    • Bortus treats every situation with honor and dignity (mostly due to his species being a Proud Warrior Race) including scanning a research colony for bars and strip clubs, participating in historical re-enactments, laying an egg, and karaoke.
      Bortus: YOU WILL BE SILENT!
    • Isaac, on the other hand, gets the concept of humor (at least, some of it), but — being an android — misses the context it has among biological beings, leading him to, for example, assume "dick" is a compliment since men tend to be proud of theirs, or when his first attempt at a practical joke involved anesthetizing Gordon while he slept, surgically removing his leg, and then hiding it.
  • Parks and Recreation: Ron Swanson and Ben Wyatt. Ron Swanson because he's Rated M for Manly with the corresponding lack of sense of humor, and Ben because he's simply trying to be sane.
  • Power Rangers RPM: Dr. K. For a character who is a complete Deadpan Snarker with No Social Skills, she provides almost as much humor as the designated Butt-Monkey of the series. It mainly comes from the fact that she is often placed in socially awkward situations. (See "Ranger Yellow, Part 2", "Doctor K", and especially "In Or Out" for proof.)
  • Primeval: James Lester. His British stuffiness is played up to the point where everything he says comes off as a joke.
  • Red Dwarf: Arnold Rimmer takes everything seriously, but gets everything wrong. The polar opposite of Lister who is usually making a joke at Rimmer's expense but generally quite smart at figuring things out, and The Cat who makes fun of Rimmer on every occasion possible but often gets stuff right because he goes with his gut reaction and doesn't overanalyse it.
    • In "Bodyswap", Rimmer describes what ageing is like. His delivery is deliberate in its bathos:
      When you're younger you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26" waist trousers and zip them closed. Then you reach that age - 24, 25 - your muscles give up, they wave a little white flag and without any warning at all suddenly you're a fat bastard."
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • Andy Samberg's "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals" sketch mocks Wahlberg by portraying him as this. As the title suggests, it's just two minutes of Wahlberg trying to have a completely straight-faced conversation with a dog...ending it with a dead serious "Say hi to your mother for me!"
    • Rachel Dratch as Debbie Downer always interjects with a new mood-killer, accompanied by a sad trombone sound, which was so hilarious in its effect that everyone, including Rachel, ended up corpsing at times.
  • Scrubs: Carla: you can get plenty of laughs out of her and her storylines, but it's actually made a point of a few times in the show that she can't tell or do good jokes. (It doesn't stop her from trying, though.)
  • Sleepy Hollow: Ichabod Crane maintains the poise and decorum of an 18th century British gentleman no matter what happens around him. He even has an elegant way to hide behind a wall during an explosion.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • A great deal of the series' humor comes from putting very serious military personnel into the utmost ridiculous science-fiction situations.
      Maj. Gen. George Hammond: I'm allowing the use of this ship because of the obvious tactical advantage it provides you. Under no circumstances is it to be used to travel through time. Understood?
      Col. Jack O'Neill: Yes sir.
      Hammond: Never in my life would I have imagined giving that order.
    • Teal'c was the team's Unfunny. He might have laughed only once in the show's 10-year run — at a Jaffa joke no-one else on the team got. Once in a while he was a bit of a Deadpan Snarker, and he was frequently the victim of Metaphorgotten, but he was always a serious person. He did let his hair down more in the company of his own people, so Fish out of Water may have been a contributing factor. Made even more hilarious on a meta level by how downright jolly his actor Christopher Judge is in real life. At first his understanding of human humor is more limited, but he learns more as the series goes on, giving us such moments as early on when O'Neill is lying sick in bed:
      Teal'c: [deadpan] Undomesticated equines could not stop me.
      O'Neill: [realizing] You made a joke.
    • The Jaffa race as a whole counts. The other Jaffa may smile more easily than Teal'c, but they're still deadly serious 90% of the time, and will climb up on their honor in an instant.
  • Star Trek:
    • Much of the humor in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine comes from putting Worf through this. Data and Odo are also frequent targets.
      Worf: Sir, I protest! I am not a merry man!
    • Same applies to Data's daughter Lal in "The Offspring", who summed up the essence of this trope after noting that other children were laughing at her.
      Lal: Then, without understanding humor, I have somehow mastered it.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, Tuvok was often paired with goofy Neelix. Interestingly, in a flashback, Sulu commented that Tuvok was stuck up even for a Vulcan (implicitly comparing him to Spock). Which leads to the hilarious image of him being the Comically Serious in a group of Vulcans.
    • And Worf, above, is often shown as being more serious than most Klingons. This may be a case of him trying too hard to follow an outsider's ideas of Klingon culture, as compared to those actually brought up in it; then again, he might just have a grim and serious temperament. Michael Dorn has a charming smile, but the best you're likely to get out of Worf is a look of satisfaction.
      • It's lampshaded in "Redemption", when Worf tries to claim that Klingons do not laugh, and Guinan immediately calls him on it — they totally do; he doesn't. It's backed up later in the story when Worf goes to fight in a Klingon fleet. In between battles, the other Klingons join their enemies in a bar to boisterously drink together, but Worf has to be all but dragged into the fun, and is still not really enjoying himself.
      • From time to time, Worf does show that he is aware of this and uses it to his advantage to sneak in some snark.
      • A Deep Space Nine episode "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." reveals a possible reason for him being so uptight: when he was much younger, he was more enthusiastic than we see him today. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm (paired with his Klingon strength) led to him accidentally killing an opponent during a soccer match. He never really recovered from it.
      • It's frequently lampshaded that he's a Deadpan Snarker wnen he feels like it. This comes up a lot in later seasons when he starts hanging out around Martok, who tends to laugh like hell at Worf's jokes.
    • In TNG's "The Outrageous Okona", Data discovers the concept of humor and attempts to learn to tell jokes and stand-up. The image of Comically Serious Data, on par with Worf, trying to tell jokes and failing miserably is — on paper - more hilarious than the jokes themselves could ever hope to be. Unfortunately, to say they misfired would be a dramatic understatement — the resulting episode is regarded as one of the worst in the entire Trek canon. He can hardly be blamed for getting it wrong considering the jokes being endorsed by Guinan and the greatest comedian of the 20th century. "Because you're a 'droid and I'm a 'noid."
    • At least once Data and Worf both pulled this off in the same scene. In "Phantasms", Data asks Worf to take care of his cat Spot:
      Data: You must feed him and pet him. And you must tell him he is a good cat. And a pretty cat.
      Worf: (holding the cat at arm's length with his usual scowl) I will feed it.
      Data: Perhaps that will be sufficient.
    • And of course, Spock himself. While a Deadpan Snarker on his own, the Vulcan generates even more laughs by his lack of emotion and frequent misunderstandings. Zachary Quinto's Spock pushes it a notch further. Note that even when Spock is shown having a rather sharp sense of humor, his stoicsm just plays so well against the original series' campiness (salt vampires, space hippies, the entire plot of "Spock's Brain") to make this trope stand out further.
    • Agents Dulmer and Lucsly from DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations". Especially their reactions to everyone making time-related jokes.
  • Supernatural: Castiel.
    • He doesn't even react when he sits on a whoopie cushion, inadvertently interrupting his own Serious speech about the Anti-Christ.
      Cas: [completely serious] That wasn't me.
    • See also his utter failure at pretending to be an FBI Agent, and:
      This isn't funny, Dean! The voice says I'm almost out of minutes.
    • Or his voicemail message.
      I don't understand. Why do you want me to say my name? (sound of buttons being pressed)
  • Teen Wolf: Derek Hale. His glaring or hostile reactions to other people's actions, especially Stiles', are often much funnier than the initial joke. And he's been nicknamed the sourwolf by Stiles because of this.
    Derek: Shut up.
    Stiles: Don't be such a sourwolf.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cameron is a solid example of this, when she is put in absurd or socially delicate situations, and tends to react in an extremely straightforward and practical manner. Fellow Terminators John Henry and Catherine Weaver tend to be this, too. The odd thing here is how much quiet comedy the writers generate between two comically serious characters.
  • That '70s Show: Red Foreman embodies this trope. While he does have a lighter side that pops up from time to time, 99% of the humor derived from his character comes from his stern personality clashing with the absolutely absurd plots going on around him.
    • He does have a dry and sardonic sense of humor that plays up now and then, such as when he remarked on Bob's less than stellar military courage:
      Red: Imagine that, a Minuteman serving chicken!
  • True Blood: Eric Northman. A good example—though funnier in context, so spoilered punchline—is when he's speaking in Russian, and his whole speech is subtitled, but he spontaneously switches back to English to call someone a gold-digging whore!
  • Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger: Stinger is a morose loner who doesn't want to be a part of the team or the various hijinks that neccessarily occur around the eleven other weirdos. He does have a gentle side, but refuses to show it for most of the time. Everyone knows what he is about so they humour him.


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