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chicken-in-a-basket n. in attributive uses, connoting unsophisticated, unfashionable, or unoriginal entertainment, especially in a remote or rustic environment; in the form chicken-in-a-basket circuit, a series of performances by an unpopular or unfashionable group or entertainer at remote, small, or undesirable locations or events. Also chicken-in-the-basket. Editorial Note: Chicken-in-a-basket circuit is similar to rubber chicken circuit and mashed potato circuit in the United States. Etymological Note: Chicken-in-a-basket is a cheap, simple dish common at cheap, simple restaurants or dinner shows. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  • There my be an earlier reference from TV. On “The Bob Newhart Show”, Dr. Hartley took his group to a retreat at “Ken and Mitzi’s of the Woods”. The place had a really lame floor show and the only thing they could get was creamed-chicken-in-a-basket.

  • There are a number of earlier uses of chicken-in-a-basket associated with lame spectacles or cheesy downmarket entertainment, but the poultry dish doesn’t show up as a lexical item—that is, it appears specifically as something you eat, not as a figurative term that lends connotations to something else.

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