The Best Straight Man

by SweetHotAngel | created - 20 Jun 2012 | updated - 20 Jun 2012 | Public

What makes a comedy duo or team funny is the reaction of the straight man to the actions or words of the supposedly funny one. A great straight man can turn an amusing bit into something sublimely hilarious. Here's a list of the best straight men in the business, listed in reverse so as we count up the list we count down to the best straight man of all.

1. Dan Rowan

Producer | Laugh-In

Dan Rowan was a comedian most famous as the straight man to Dick Martin, with whom he co-hosted the watershed TV program Laugh-In (1967) from 1968-1973. The comedian debuted into small-town life as Daniel Hale Rowan in Beggs, Oklahoma on July 22, 1922, the son of show people. As a child, Rowan ...

2. Bud Abbott

Actor | Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein

Long acknowledged as one of the best "straight men" in the business, Bud Abbott was born William Alexander Abbott in Asbury Park, New Jersey, to Rae (Fisher) and Harry Abbott, who had both worked for the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He himself worked in carnivals while still a child and dropped out of ...

3. Oliver Hardy

Actor | Sons of the Desert

Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began ...

4. Dick Smothers

Actor | Casino

Dick Smothers was born on November 20, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard Remick Smothers. He is an actor, known for Casino (1995), The Informant! (2009) and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967). He was previously married to Denby Franklin, Lorraine Martin and Linda Miller.

5. George Burns

Actor | Oh, God!

George Burns was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City, New York, USA as Nathan Birnbaum. He was an actor and producer, known for Oh, God! (1977), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and Going in Style (1979). He was married to Gracie Allen and Hannah Siegal. He died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, Los...

6. Zeppo Marx

Actor | Duck Soup

The youngest of The Marx Brothers, Zeppo was put into the role of the straight man after his brother Gummo left the act. Zeppo also acted as an understudy to all three of his brothers, and he has been said to have played Grouchos part better than Groucho himself. After playing small parts in the ...

7. Dean Martin

Soundtrack | Rio Bravo

If there had to be an image for cool, the man to fit it would be Dean Martin.

Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela (Barra) and Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, a barber. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was of Italian descent. He spoke only Italian until ...