straight man

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straight man (plural straight men)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see straight,‎ man; for example, a heterosexual man.
    the committee consisted of two lesbians and a straight man
  2. (idiomatic) A member (of any gender) of a team of comic performers who plays a supporting role by helping to set up jokes and punch lines through engaging in dialog with another comedian playing a more eccentric or otherwise more interesting character; a foil who plays such a role in theatrical comedy.
    Synonyms: stooge, second banana
    For many years Bud Abbott served brilliantly as Lou Costello's deadpan straight man.
    • 2010, Caroline Graham, A Ghost in the Machine, Hachette UK →ISBN:
      Recently he had successfully concluded a case featuring a poet who wore only latex, lived on liquorice allsorts and worshipped a horse she believed to be the reincarnation of Radclyffe Hall. And she was the straight man.
    • 1982 April, Pam Hait, “Sandra Day O’Connor: Warm, Witty and Wise”, The Ladies' Home Journal, volume 99, page 46:
      She was the straight man, he was the comedian, and their audience was “standing room only” when they stepped up to the microphone.

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