Definition of straight man in US English:

straight man


  • The person in a comedy duo who speaks lines which give a comedian the opportunity to make jokes.

    • ‘It's like a comedy routine with two guys playing the straight man.’
    • ‘Kinnear plays the role he's forever destined to play, the straight man, keeping one foot in reality.’
    • ‘Martin's an unusual comic, because for the vast majority of this and his other films he's content, even comfortable, being the straight man.’
    • ‘Jason plays the ever-so-slightly confused innocent straight man very, very well in comedy.’
    • ‘But comedy needs opposites, a straight man and a gagster.’
    • ‘It's moderately funny, but I can't help feeling Brown would have been better used if he had a solid straight man to play off.’
    • ‘He is surprisingly restrained in the first-ever role as straight man.’
    • ‘It's rough when an established comedic actor tries to become a straight man.’
    • ‘He slides back and forth from being the focal point and the straight man.’
    • ‘Interestingly, the show's mockumentary format is liberating for the straight man.’
    • ‘Martin didn't work as well as a straight man as he does carrying the humor, but this was the beginning of a real shift in the type of comedy he would do.’
    • ‘Anderson is so ridiculous it's comical, and O'Connell plays a perfect straight man in the midst of his stylings.’
    • ‘The roles they're given here never allow them to do much more than play straight men to the buffoons around them, who only provide comedy on the most base levels.’
    • ‘He sets the film alight, literally, while newcomer Evans plays the straight man perfectly.’
    • ‘He is an excellent straight man and the few jokes he makes are some of the best in the show.’
    • ‘We have joked many times how she is my polar opposite; the straight man in the stand-up routine, if you will.’
    • ‘The team were very much a double act, but not one with a definite straight man or funny man.’
    • ‘A nine-year-old boy is looking for a straight man to help him clown around.’
    • ‘I'm always just the support act; the straight man who sets up the laugh for the real comedians.’
    • ‘Bobby proves to be a terrific comic foil and straight man for Durante.’
    butt, foil
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straight man

/ˈstrāt ˌman//ˈstreɪt ˌmæn/