Tue, 17 Sep 2019
Today it occurred to me that in the many comedy duos that feature a “straight man” and a “comedian”, the straight man is invariably named first. The central example, of course, is Abbott and Costello. But we also have:
and this even extends to entirely fictitious pairs such as Jeeves and Wooster, Harold and Kumar, or Sam and Max, Freelance Police. Also, if you are a mathematician, Smothers and Smothers. This is why people hate mathematicians.
I did Google search for "Kermit and Fozzie" (hits outnumber "Fozzie and Kermit" by around three-to-one) and "Kermit and Miss Piggy" (hits outnumber "Miss Piggy and Kermit", although only by about 60%.)
Wikipedia says this is no accident!
But my co-worker Jeff Culverhouse found a counterexample: Silent Bob is certainly the straight man of Jay and Silent Bob.
Wikipedia also has a list of American Comedy Duos. Not all of them follow the straight man / comedian pattern, and I don't recognize many of those that do. More research is needed.
[ Addendum: I wanted to find a gender-neutral term for "straight man", but failed. ]