… on the importance of the straight man


A Comedy Troupe of Two

Oh that face.

The one on the right.

The big one? The one on the left? He just doinked the little one on the head.

And then immediately – and dramatically – looked away…


The Look Away

Then there was the added fake-talking to someone in the distance for added effect…


“Hey Burt, did you just say something?”

And then the little monkey realized what was happening and looked at the big monkey, and then at the crowd, with a perfect deadpan expression.



Perfectly executed if you ask me. I even love how the bigger one is nibbling a fingernail, never quiet copping to the dastardly doinking-on-the-head deed.

In comedy, the straight man has the job of saying or doing things that allow the other person (or other folks) to be funny…

To be in the spotlight.

To shine.

Teller for Penn. Abbot for Costello. Desi for Lucy.

If you are lucky, you have someone (or someones) in your life who do this for you, who know your talents, your best features, and who find ways – ways completely comfortable to you – that allow you to shine.

To be totally you.


Even if only once in a while, for a while.

But there’s a balance, always a balance…

And I’m kind of a fan of this side of it.

Can you also be the person who steps back?

Even go pretty much unnoticed.

Casually nudging the light in the direction of other humans.

Supporting them in their being-ness.

Finding ways to allow others to be genuinely, wonderfully, and talented-ly them. Can you celebrate others without stepping into the light yourself, without letting everyone know that you are the ‘the straight man’?

I see folks doing this all the time. And when I notice it, I find it not only inspirational, but aspirational.

Parents beaming with pride, knowing their children’s accomplishments are their own, and staying completing out of their spotlights.

Friends doing that for friends,

Girlfriends for boyfriends (and vice versa).

Husbands for wives.

And even – and in these cases I want to clap out loud (ya, not just in my head (which happens a lot)) – strangers for strangers.

People who make people feel good about themselves, just because.

It’s not contrived, not done for any sort of credit or acknowledgement.

It’s just the type of people they are.

We all feel better when we are around them.

Those willing to be the ‘straight man’, any time.

They kind of rock.

Thanks for readin’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment <3

p.s., these beautiful monkeys, or Guenons, are Wolf’s mona monkeys. I took their photos at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans last week during a pretty great afternoon :))