Top-banana meaning

The main comic in a burlesque show.
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The head person, as of a group or project.
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A top performer in show business; specif., the star comedian in a burlesque show.
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The most important person in any group.
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(idiomatic) The boss, the leader.

Only the top banana can make a decision of that magnitude.

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(idiomatic, dated) The principal comedian in a vaudeville or burlesque show.

He was hilarious, and remained the top banana on the tour for years.

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Origin of top-banana

  • So called from the presentation of a banana to the comedian who has the punch line in a three-person burlesque routine
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition