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There is a line in the movie Casino:

No matter what the Feds or the papers might have said about my car bombing, it was amateur night, you could tell. Whoever it was, they put the dynamite under the passenger side. But what they didn't know, what nobody outside the factory knew was that that model car was made with a metal plate under the driver's seat. It's the only thing that saved my life.

I understand the phrase to mean amateurish here. But is this phrase amateur night idiomatic? Is this usage common? With few sources having pithy words about this term, it seems a very uncommon term.

  • 2
    Interesting question. It could also be an uncountable noun phrase. – Eddie Kal Aug 30 '18 at 18:27
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    You may also hear the term "amateur hour" rather than "amateur night" but they convey the same concept. – barbecue Aug 30 '18 at 19:42
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"Amateur night" has two meanings:

  1. an entertainment featuring amateur performers, often in competition for prizes.
  2. Informal. an example of or situation marked by flagrant ineptitude:
    Critics say it's been amateur night at the embassy since the new ambassador took over.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary via Dictionary.com

The latter is the one being used in your quote.

See also: Oxford Dictionaries Online's definition.

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    In case it's not obvious, the latter is derived from the former. If a music venue (or a stand-up comedy club, or even a strip club) normally has professional performers, but one night a week has an "amateur night" that allows anyone to sign up to perform, you'd expect the quality of entertainment that night to be much lower than normal. That's what "amateur night" means; that things are going especially poorly due to inexperience and/or ineptitude. – BradC Aug 30 '18 at 20:07
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amateur night

noun

an entertainment featuring amateur performers, often in competition for prizes.

Informal. an example of or situation marked by flagrant ineptitude:

Critics say it's been amateur night at the embassy since the new ambassador took over.

Amateur night

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