It puts me in mind of Hugh Laurie, the comedic genius of Jeeves & Wooster and currently the wry dramatic emmy-nominated genius of House M.D.. Back when I first saw him in Sense & Sensibility, I was unaware of his dramatic potential, and was completely astounded at what a 180 degree turn his Mr. Palmer was compared to Bertie Wooster. In one scene, he calmly bears his wife Charlotte's fluttering about some subject and issues a one word response in an effort to silence her on the matter.
Charlotte: Miss Dashwood, if only Mr. Willoughby had gone home to Combe Magna, we could have taken Miss Marianne to see him! For we live but half a mile away.
Mr. Palmer: Five and a half.
Charlotte: No, I cannot believe it is that far, for you can see the place from the top of our hill. Is it really five and a half miles? No! I cannot believe it.
Mr Palmer: (brief pause) Try.