Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
A rowdy audience. The original peanut galleries were the cheapest, which is to say, the highest, seats in a theater or vaudeville house. Their patrons heckled and often threw peanuts (the least expensive items sold at the snack bar) at performers who didn't measure up to the audience's expectations. The most popular children's television show of the mid-20th century was Howdy Doody (Howdy, Mr. Bluster, Flub-A-Dub and other marionettes interacted with their human friends led by Buffalo Bob Smith and Clarabelle the Clown). The studio audience were children who sat in the Peanut Gallery and were encouraged to laugh, cheer, or boo at the show's riotous happenings.