Dry humor, or deadpan humor, is a type of comedy technique that uses a calm and straightforward delivery of the comic or performer.
Dry humor as a technique is vastly different from the other comedy art forms like slapstick or sketch comedy. These two examples are characterized by the use of broad gestures, exaggerated facial expressions, and a marked emphasis on tone or tenor as a way of stressing the comic element of the joke or the remark. Dry humor is often associated with what is known as highbrow comedy because this particular style needs a certain degree of restraint in order to work. But dry humor usually makes use of words that can be easily accessed or understood by persons of all levels of educational attainment and it also often uses everyday terms as part of the humorous content.
Dry humor puts focus on the actual words that is employed, instead of using different devices that call attention or puts emphasis on certain part of the delivery. Writing the joke or script may also be written in a tone that is sarcastic or mocking even though the actual delivery of the lines will have a conscious effort not to invoke a tone or inflection that will overtly show these qualities. The delivery of the lines, instead, will be with a tone that is casual and normal. Sometimes, a smile or look will be used to give the audience a slight hint of irony. These delivery techniques will help in leading the audience to pay attention to the words instead of movements and expressions.