straight man

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straight man ‎(plural straight men)

  1. Used other than as an idiom: see straight,‎ man.
    the committee consisted of two lesbians and a straight man
  2. (idiomatic) A member (of either gender) of a team of comic performers who plays a supporting role by helping to set up jokes and punch lines through engaging in preparatory dialog with the principal comedian; a foil who plays such a role in theatrical comedy.
    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 9780755373222)
      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, The Ladies' Home Journal
      She was the straight man, he was the comedian, and their audience was "standing room ...

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