Jack Benny liked to portray himself as a skinflint but his generosity as a comic allowed other characters to get their fair share of laughs . usually at his expense. Benny got more laughs playing the straight man and didn't care if he was the butt of the jokes. With his brilliant timing, smooth delivery, and trademark mannerisms, Benny was a huge influence on the development of the radio sitcom. References to Benny's reputed stinginess, vanity, and infirmities were expected and weekly running gags established the program's memorable characters. Benny's real wife, Mary, was his sarcastic female friend; Phil Harris, the brash bandleader, Dennis Day the eager juvenile, Rochester the lovable butler and Don Wilson, the overweight announcer.