I love "Brats" - one of my favorites too.
The Modernist wrote:
Sneelock wrote:Ok, you tell me why you wouldn’t call him a straight man & I’ll tell you why I would.
I think there was more to him than just a foil for Stan. He produced a lot of the comedy himself. A straight man is, to me, someone who isn't funny in themselves but allows their partner to be funny. Someone like Ernie Wise (although you might not know him in The States) is a good example.
well, I don't know Ernie Wise but, from your description, I get your point. I think you mean a guy like Bud Abbott who just feeds the lines and stands around while the "funny man" gets the laughs. I can see why you would rankle at this being applied to what Ollie did.
I'll agree that he was an inventive and talented comic actor. what fan wouldn't admit this immediately? the way he would fuss with his tie or his fingers - amazing, comedic stuff!
I do stand by my assertion that I find him a terrific straight man so I guess I'll explain why. I think this is rooted in the function of the straight man. the "funny man" is only part of what's funny. the reaction
can heighten the funny to an entirely different level.
If Stan is doing something in a stupid and roundabout way - this is funny. Ollie becoming angry or resigned or exasperated lifts it all to a different level.
now, you factor in the whole "fourth wall" thing and I think this is where things really get amazing. Stan does something in a ridiculously drawn out and stupid way. Ollie looks at us!
. we know what he's thinking.
it's true that "straight man" in a strictly vaudevillian sense of the word may seem a slight. I mean it as quite the opposite. I feel the very best straight men act to translate and heighten the humor to the audience.
Oliver Hardy was undoubtedly a gifted comedy performer. it is my opinion that he is also perhaps the silver screen's greatest straight man.