Straight Guy Fix
The straight man is a stock character in a comedy performance, especially a double act, sketch comedy, or farce. When a comedy partner behaves eccentrically, the straight man is expected to maintain composure. The direct contribution to the comedy a straight man provides usually comes in the form of a deadpan. A straight man with no direct comedic role has historically been known as a stooge. Typically, he is expected to feed the funny man lines that he can respond to for laughs (and is hence sometimes known as a feed), while seeking no acclamation for himself. If a straight man unintentionally breaks composure and laughs, it is known in British English as corpsing.
In vaudeville, effective straight men were much less common than comedians. The straight man's name usually appeared first and he usually received 60% of the take. This helped take the sting out of not being the laugh-getter and helped ensure the straight man's loyalty to the team. Abbott and Costello, one of America's most popular comedy duos of the 1940s and 50s in radio, film and television, began as nightclub performers when the straight-faced Bud Abbott contrasted against the bumbling Lou Costello; Abbott, unusually, allowed Costello a larger paycheck to keep him on the team.
One of the most famous ways to depict human sexuality is the Kinsey scale, which places people on a spectrum from totally straight to totally homosexual. The vast majority of people are somewhere in between these two poles, and the idea that you have to fit neatly into black and white categories is unrealistic and oppressive.
In 2018, Netflix rebooted the show with a slightly tweaked title, Queer Eye. The biggest reason for this name change was that the new Fab Five wouldn't just help straight guys anymore. Instead, they'd now help all kinds of people: women, other gay men, couples, and more. While the reboot has been very popular, certain viewers still feel a lot of nostalgia for the original Fab Five. Here's what the stars of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are up to now.
"Traditionally, being 'straight' refers to one's sexual and romantic interest as being in the opposite sex," New York sex and relationship therapist Todd Baratz, LMHC, tells mbg. But does that mean only ever liking women? Not necessarily.
"The reality is sexuality is expansive and diverse," Baratz says. "Just because someone identifies as straight doesn't mean that they can't and will never have romantic or sexual feelings for an individual of the same sex."
Identities like "straight" and "gay" may seem concrete and permanent, but in fact, research shows4 they're subjective and can change over time. "Straightness, just like gayness, is an individually defined subjective reality," Baratz says.
The Kinsey scale isn't perfect, but it can be empowering to think about where your sexuality falls along this spectrum and how it may have changed over time rather than leaping straight to "straight," "bi," or "gay."
Mostly straight is a discrete category, distinct from being a closeted gay man or bisexual. "Strict rules don't apply," Williams writes for Time. "These attractions are sexual, romantic, or both and can be expressed in various ways, from erotic fantasies to actual behavior."
Not necessarily. You could be gay, but you could also be a million other things. You could be heteroflexible. You could be bisexual. Or you could simply be straight and still be experiencing these feelings for some reason. It's all possible, and it's all very normal.
The original Queer Eye show was reasonably groundbreaking in the Early Aughts. It presented its five, happy-go-lucky gay life coaches to a culture that still thought you could catch Gay from a handshake. They may have been a little cartoonish, but for many American viewers, the series broke new ground by putting these guys together with accepting straights and showing them what they could learn from each other.
The second episode followed the same pattern. Another schlubby straight got the full makeover from the Fab Five complete with haircut, beard trim, apartment renovation, shinier wardrobe and a heartfelt (possibly scripted) speech at the end from the straight guy about how his life was forever changed after hanging with gays for one week.
The first part of this blog entry really pissed me off. I am so tired of gays who have to make sure folks know there are queers who break stereotypes. You know, there are straights who break them, too. I think residual, internalized homophobia is the cause, and I was poised to strike.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is a show where five "gay guys" called "The Fab Five" go help straight guys to learn how to dress and act. They appeared in Season Seven episode "South Park is Gay!". In reality, they are Crab People.
The best Straight Men are so good they can sometimes get laughs just by delivering a straight line so well the audience knows what's coming. (This is essentially the basis of Bob Newhart's "telephone" routines: he was playing the Straight Man to nothing.) Other straight men in comedy duos have included George Burns (with Gracie Allen), Dean Martin (with Jerry Lewis), and Dan Rowan (with Dick Martin of Laugh-In).
Note: A person does not need to be straight or a man to be this trope. The term can apply to women, but "comedic foil" is a more popular unisex term. In fact, women in comic pairings have frequently played this role over the last few decades, usually with Women Are Wiser coming into play.
Comedy Initially, George Burns had his wife Gracie Allen in the Straight Man role in their comedy act... until he realized most of the laughter was at her set-up lines and not the actual jokes. He switched roles with her and spent the next several decades as one of the classic straight men.
Carl Reiner to Mel Brooks' 2000-years-old man is another classic of the trope.
Dean Martin to Jerry Lewis.
Rowan to Martin in Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.
Dick Smothers to Tom Smothers.
Opera singer Marilyn Mulvay was the straight woman for Victor Borge.
The infamous staged heckler in Brendon Burns's comedy sketches serves this role; she argues with him about racism with a completely serious attitude, while Burns flings her arguments back at her with humor.
Abbott and Costello: Bud Abbott took a 60% share of the comedy duo's earnings because vaudeville tradition held that the straight man was the more important member of the duo. Lou Costello: Comics are a dime a dozen. Good straight men are hard to find.
Bob Newhart was such a master straight man that he didn't even need a funny partner. His famous bits are talking on the telephone with a fictional funny character who is not audible to the audience. All of the humor comes from Newhart's reactions to the ridiculous things the other person is supposedly saying.
Comic Books Batman: This point is brought up in the comics on occasion; one of the main reasons that The Joker has given for not simply killing Batman is that the Joker sees Batman as his unwilling straight man.
Lex Luthor is also the straight man when the villains team up.
In the sequel comic series to the DCAU titled Batman: The Adventures Continue, the Joker actually hires a henchman named Straightman. Ironically, he's terrible at being one and Joker continually chastises him for ad-libbing.
Tom from the Roger Mellie strips in Viz. Sometimes he's Roger's agent and at other times he's Roger's producer, but he's always Roger's straight man. One strip featured a sign on his desk that had "straight man" as his job title.
Comic Strips FoxTrot zig-zags this. In the early years of the strip, Roger and Andy were both rather straight, with Andy occasionally being the funny one. However, someone slipped an Idiot Ball into Roger Fox's shorts and he never removed it, so Andy was pretty much the straight one throughout most of the comic's run, although there have been notable instances where Roger was the straight one.
Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes also acts like this to Calvin; although there are times where Calvin can identify a little bit of quirkiness from Hobbes.
Peanuts: In the stories focusing on Sally, Charlie Brown stands back and gets to comfortably be the Deadpan Snarker to his sister's silliness.
Garfield: In the early days, Jon was the straight man to Garfield. Most of the humor in the early strips derived from Jon lamenting his status as cat owner whenever Garfield's catlike curiosity led him to do idiotic things. But as characterization marched on, they reversed roles: Jon turned into a socially awkward and weird Manchild, while Garfield turned into a lazy Deadpan Snarker, whose job it was to comment on Jon's strange behavior.
Fan Works In the Homestuck fan adventure Alabaster: The Doomed Session, there are two straight women: Via and Crossover, which both spend their time kicking the horrible male lead's ass and enduring the madness and mistakes of the entire cast.
Queen of All Oni: Agent Wisker often serves as one for the heroes. Meanwhile, on the villainous side of things, Blankman often serves as this to the more quirky members of the Shadow Hand.
Dragonball Z Abridged: Most of the main villains play straight man to their henchmen (particularly Vegeta to Nappa) as well as to Goku. In addition, Kami is the straight man to Mr. Popo, Nail is the straight man to Super Kami Guru and Krillin, Piccolo is the straight man to Nail, Gohan is a straight man to everyone, and Tien Shinhan seems to be unaware that he's in a parody and plays just about everything straight.
Jason often does this in Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm. All too often, he doesn't respond to the Scouts' antics except to give them a look that makes them realize the ridiculousness of their actions. And most of the time he doesn't even change his expression.
Hovat in we're jerry springer, not casablanca. is a female example of this, and so is Gamora to a lesser extent