top banana


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top banana

The person with the most authority, power, or influence in a group or organization. Primarily heard in US. When I was top banana of the business, I used to charge the most outrageous things to the company credit card. You'll only get a truthful answer if you manage to talk to one of the top bananas.
See also: banana, top

top banana

Also, top dog. The principal person in a group, organization, or undertaking, as in His plan was to be top banana within ten years, or Now that she's top dog you can't get hold of her at all. The first term comes from show business, where from the early 1900s it has signified the leading comedian (possibly the original allusion was to Frank Lebowitz, a burlesque comedian who used bananas in his act). It also gave rise to second banana, for a supporting actor, usually a straight man. Both were transferred to more general use in the second half of the 1900s, as in executive Peter Barton's statement, "There is a certain pain to being a second banana, but you have to have an ability to sublimate your ego," quoted in The New York Times, May 15, 1996. The variant, top dog, originated in sports in the late 1800s and signified the odds-on favorite or winner in a contest; it alludes to the dog who wins (comes out on top) in a dogfight.
See also: banana, top

top banana

the most important person in an organization or activity. informal, chiefly North American
The two expressions above originated in US theatrical slang. The top banana was originally the comedian who topped the bill in a show, while the second banana was the supporting comedian.
See also: banana, top

top banana

1. n. the lead comedian in a burlesque or vaudeville act. The top banana didn’t show up for the gig.
2. n. the boss; the leader or head of something. (see also big cheese, big enchilada.) You’ll have to ask the top banana. He’s out right now.
See also: banana, top

top banana

Headliner comedian in a vaudeville show. The phrase is said to have originated with a vaudevillian named Harry Steppe in 1927 from a skit in which three comics tried to figure out how to share two bananas. Steppe also claimed to have first used “second banana” to refer to the cast's number two comic. Comedian Phil Silvers popularized the phrase “Top Banana” when he used it as the title of his Broadway musical and movie.
See also: banana, top
References in periodicals archive ?
Nick Terry, Managing Director of Top Banana, which celebrates its 15th birthday this year, added: "It's great to be working alongside the guys at ORB to refresh and revitalise our brand identity.
This is my contribution to the world, to get people to smile more often," explains the Top Banana.
I'm kind of shocked," concluded one clock vendor, who added that Top Banana had innovative designs.
That's what I wrote the day David Taylor (right) was interviewed to be the SFA's top banana.
MARK HOLDEN has to take on the darts demons as well as the board every time he toes the oche, but the Top Banana is still a fruity price at 5-4 to see off Denis Ovens at the Circus Tavern.
Though the company also maintains vegetable, processed food and fresh flower operations, it was fresh fruit that turned out to be the top banana, earningswise.
The Commission said Ecuador, the world's top banana producer, would from July 1 get "increased opportunities" to sell its bananas in the European Union.
The full shortlist has now been announced, including the Creative Communications & Digital Business category, sponsored by Bodypower, in which the finalists are Connect Group, Story Comms and Top Banana.
The Philippines is one of the world's top banana exporters, its produce going to Japan and the United States.
But now the 62-year-old runs his own successful retro clothing store Top Banana in Birmingham and he rattles off designer labels as if he has spent a lifetime working in fashion.
Rude Health's new Top Banana organic porridge is a blissful blend of banana, roasted hazelnuts, maple flakes and oats.
Saturday, November 6, Top Banana, a comedy by David Napthine, bringing a fresh slant to the Faust legend is at 7.
Candy, Top Banana, Honey Graham Cracker, Orange Juice, Licorice,
BLACK Country event and communication agency Top Banana has bolstered its team with six new appointments.
The temporary outlet in Corporation Street stocks items from 14 niche stores including Benjamin Vaughan, Top Banana, Chatterbox Boutique and People, all based in Kings Heath.