Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
alt. 1 A comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners, usually of the same gender, age, ethnic origin and profession, but often with drastically different personalities or behavior, maybe with a stooge or ''straight man''. 2 Two objects, senses, etc working as one. n. 1 A comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners, usually of the same gender, age, ethnic origin and profession, but often with drastically different personalities or behavior, maybe with a stooge or ''straight man''. 2 Two objects, senses, etc working as one.
A double act, also known as a comedy duo, is a comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners, usually of the same gender, age, ethnic origin and profession but drastically different in terms of personality or behavior. Often one of the members of the duo—the straight man, feed, dead wood, or stooge—is portrayed as reasonable and serious, while the other one—the funny man, banana man or comic—is portrayed as funny, less educated or less intelligent, silly, or unorthodox. If the audience identifies primarily with one character, the other will often be referred to as a comic foil. The term "feed" comes from the way a straight man is wont to set up jokes and "feed" them to his partner.
Despite the names often given to the roles, the " straight man" need not be humorless and it is not always the comic who provides the act's humor. Sometimes it is the straight man who gets the laughs through his or her sarcastic reactions to the comic's antics, as was often the case with Stewart Lee's deadpan, reasoned reactions to Richard Herring's more ridiculous antics in their pairing. Where the "straight man" serves no personal comic purpose but acts as a device to make the "comic" look good, he is known as a "stooge". This is sometimes considered a derogatory term. Most often, however, the humor in a double act comes from the way the two personalities play off each other, rather than from the individuals themselves. In many successful acts the roles are interchangeable.
Double Act is a children's novel by Jacqueline Wilson, written in the style of a diary, which features identical twins Ruby and Garnet. Ruby and Garnet love each other dearly but they are completely different. Ruby is loud, outgoing and wild though Garnet is shy, quiet and kind. It was published in 1995, co-illustrated by Sue Heap and Nick Sharratt, and it won both the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (ages 9–11 years and overall) and the Red House Children's Book Award.
Double Act was "Highly Commended" runner up for the annual Carnegie Medal from the British Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. That commendation was approximately annual at the time. The 1995 Medal winner, Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, was named one of the top ten by a panel of experts and was voted the public favourite for the 70th anniversary "Carnegie of Carnegies" in 2007.
Double Act is a TV adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's best selling book, Double Act. The telefilm was made in 2001 for Channel 4 and screened in 2002, starring Birmingham twins, Zoe and Chloe Tempest-Jones. It was directed by Cilla Ware. It was the last acting role of Charlotte Coleman before she died.
Usage examples of "double act".
Once more, Mucus and Membrane ran through their polished double act.
He imagined the two girl hikers doing a double act, one rucksack dumped carelessly at Grigoriev's feet, recording whatever he happened to say to the cashier.