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“Stiller does try to play a straight man,” says Cote.

“Yeah,” Ballard replies, “not really. He’s just taking the zany self-abuse character and putting it out front.”

The elevator car stops to admit another man, a stranger. There are acknowledgement nods all around.

“I mean, a dog biting him on the crotch?” Ballard continues. “Like five minutes of it, facial expressions and all?”

“That’s not straight,” Cote concedes.

The car stops again; there are nods; the stranger exits.

“Probably a bad place to come into that conversation,” says Cote, after a while.

“Yeah,” says Ballard. “Now that was a straight man.”