Comedy Duos - Two Straight Men

Thinking back on the makeup of various comedy duos over the years, it seemed that there was always the same scheme: one straight man who provided the set up and the goofy one who provided most of the comedy. Rowan and Martin, Lewis and Martin, Skiles and Henderson, The Smothers Brothers, Abbott and Costello, etc, etc.

But there was one team that stood out for me as being possibly the only comedy duo with two straight men: Bob and Ray. Neither of them could really be described as the “goofy” one.

So, I’m wondering if there were any other comedy duos that could be considered two straight men, or of Bob and Ray were unique in that respect.

It’s not that they were two straight men, but that they were always playing characters. In many sketches there was a straight man and a goofy one, but it switched constantly. And there were plenty of skits where they were both very subdued, without an obvious goofy one.

That’s rather my point. With other comedy duos, you always had one member who was the “goofy” one: Jerry Lewis, Lou Costello, Dick Martin … With Bob and Ray, that role was never specifically defined, which I think makes them unique.

Not goofy?

Wally Ballou once interviewed a man who farmed cranberries and had trouble selling them. He had never heard of cranberry sauce or cranberry juice and so was marketing them in little pint baskets for cranberry shortcake. How is that not a goofy character, even if played with a poker face.

I think there must be lots of other comedy duos where one member is not consistently the straight man. How about David Walliams and Matt Lucas? Or David Mitchell and Robert Webb?

I think the preferred term is “ciscomedic”.

That’s got one of my favorite exchanges:

Ray: (after finding out that you can make juice out of cranberries) I’ve got to write that down. Let’s see … J - U …

Bob: I - C - E.

Ray : What’s that?

Bob: I - C - E.

Ray I thought there was a “J” in “juice.”

Statler & Waldorf.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore often switched the straight and goofy roles. Just look at One Leg too Few and The Frog and Peach.

I also just thought of Flanders and Swan, as well.

The Blues Brothers.

In contrast I can think of a few teams or dual roles that appeared to have no straight man.

Bob and Doug McKenzie
Bill and Ted
Wayne and Garth (although Wayne would occasionally set up a Garth joke)

and how would you classify Jay and Silent Bob? Bob’s expressions varied between contrast or support of Jay’s exclamations.

Same goes for Penn and Teller. All of the setups were obviously Penn, but does Teller act a a straight man or a goof?

Bob and Ray for me too.

Beavis & Butthead :slight_smile:

Fry and Laurie, having a quick look around the room:

Cheech and Chong

My favorite line from that one:

Ray (after finding out all the many uses of cranberries): Can you make glass out of them?

I’d say Franken & Davis were bought the straight man(s).

Of course in all the Abrahams/Zucker movies everyone is a straight man, including the ladies. Yet there’s something screwy about them. I’m sure of that.

The exception being the airport guy that notices there is a sale at Penney’s

Bob Elliott probably WAS the straight man of team most of the time when they did two man sketches. Bob tended to play the interviewer who is trying to stay polite and professional while Ray is saying hilariously idiotic things. Ray tends to come across as something of a straight man because the stupid characters he plays have no idea how stupid they sound, and are completely serious and sincere in the crazy things they say.

But remember that Bob and Ray worked primarily in radio, and did all kinds of sketches in which each of them did multiple voices. That meant that BOTH of them got to play “serious” AND “stupid” characters constantly.