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I've heard that nice phrase and assume it is kind of an idiom.

The possible usage I can recall:

Follow that! I just did [insert something here].

Is that true and if so what does it mean?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The origin for this phrase is likely theatrical: "Hard act to follow"

Before television, people used to go to the watch Variety Shows at theatres for entertainment.

One of the key characteristics of such a show is that as the show progresses, the acts should get better and better.

The headline act goes on last because they are so good that they cannot be followed.

So if someone cracks a great joke or tells an amazing story, the expression, "Follow that!" is an imperative or challenge to improve on the joke with an implied assertion that it you cannot because it was so good.

If you are on a bill of performers and the preceding act is better than yours then there is no greater hell; for you or the audience.

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+1 A fine answer. –  JLG Apr 28 '12 at 14:57
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In this context, it is similar to "Top that."

Which is to say that what went on before was very good, so good, that it is unlikely that you will be able to "top" (better) it. This is said as a challenge.

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