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Deadpan Snarker

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"Wow, sarcasm. That's original."


A character prone to gnomic, sarcastic, sometimes bitter, occasionally whimsical asides.

The Deadpan Snarker exists to deflate pomposity, point out the unlikelihood of certain plans, and deliver funny lines. Typically the most cynical supporting character. In most cases, it is implied that the snarker would make a good leader, strategist, or consultant given their ability to instantly see the flaws in a constructed plan. More often than not, their innate snarkiness is the only thing preventing the other characters from comprehending this for themselves. In other cases, the Deadpan Snarker resorts to sarcasm because they're the Only Sane Man. Tends to be shot a Death Glare when they go too far (and probably isn't without one of their own, either). Note that due to the definition evolving, the "Deadpan" part of the title has gradually become The Artifact and a deadpan delivery is no longer a necessary part of the trope.


Sometimes the Deadpan Snarker is shown to be incapable of avoiding sarcasm, due to their insecurity about expressing any genuine thought or feeling, and their fear of withdrawing from the cynical position and protection. This may turn them into a Stepford Snarker.

While the Snarker has existed (in both fiction and Real Life) since time immemorial, its most contemporary incarnation emerged in the early 1930s with the new popularity of sound cinema and the rise of "zinger" comedy. In fact, it was in 1933 that the word "wisecrack" (the Snarker's most trusted sidearm) entered English-language dictionaries. (And, in a stroke of genius, the word "wisecrack" is itself a wisecrack, carrying the sarcastic connotation of "Oh, yeah, you're a real Socrates, smart guy.")

A sub-trope of this is Grade System Snark. Compare The Snark Knight, Little Miss Snarker, Cuckoosnarker, Weasel Mascot, First-Person Smartass, Servile Snarker, Gentleman Snarker, Silent Snarker, Disabled Snarker, Mentor in Sour Armor. See also Non-Action Snarker, Snarky Nonhuman Sidekick, Cats Are Snarkers, Tall, Dark, and Snarky, Surrounded by Idiots, Silicon Snarker, and Sarcastic Devotee. Sometimes overlaps with Genre Savvy and No Sense of Humor. A common role for a Straight Man. May wear Jade-Colored Glasses. Expect them to resort frequently to Brutal Honesty. If there are too many of these, you might be in a World of Snark. Overdoing it on one character may result in a Jerkass; even when done in sufficient moderation, however, the character still tends to rely on a certain amount of Jerkass Dissonance (since, well, the audience would probably be less amused by the Deadpan Snarker's biting wit if they were the ones on the receiving end of it). Expect plenty of Snark-to-Snark Combat if and when two of these meet. May result in Offing the Mouth. Try not to confuse the dialogue with Buffy Speak. It's common among narrators, making them into a Lemony Narrator.


Now, as for real life examples... Oh, yeah, right. Someone up there has got no sense of humour.

Boy, I hope you don't mind actually reading a full sentence to know which example subpages you're in for.

Other Examples... or something.

    open/close all folders 

    Wow. Advertising. Easily the biggest wastes of our time and only exist to annoy us. 
  • Geralt in one of the trailers for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is playing Gwent with Ciri as soldiers bust into the locale and approach her from behind. He's still talking about their game.
    Geralt: Let me guess. She's got a dragon.
  • Morris the Catnote  from the 9 Lives cat food commercials does this on a regular basis.note 
  • There's a Liberty Mutual ad on YouTube with a comedienne and her self-aware puppet singing the jingle, the latter being this trope.
    Comedienne: That was great!
    Puppet: Well, at least one of us was...

    People actually consider Music an art. They’re just making noise, how creative. 

    Pinballs, an even worse version of Video Games. Nobody ever pays attention to these. 

    Podcasts are just people talking. Conversations are boring. End of story. 
  • Riley from Less is Morgue is insanely snarky and about as deadpan as it gets, speaking largely in complete monotone, unless they're feeling particularly angry or sarcastic. It's largely a defense mechanism, but they'd die before they'd admit it.
  • Most of Starlee's clients on Mystery Show. Starlee also gets in on it occasionally.

     People acting like fools and dressing in silly costumes is all that Pro Wrestling is. No thanks. 


Deja Q

When none of the Enterprise crew believes that Q has been stripped of his powers, Q asks what he should do to convince them otherwise. Worf then gets his jollies with a single word...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

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