So the context is that after a series of mistakes on the pitch, pressure mounts to bench Roy, one of the key players in the football team but currently showing poor performance. The head coach, Ted Lasso, truly believes in Roy that he can do better next time and is determined not to bench him, so the other coaches/staff of the team decide to face Ted and tell him up front that Roy will have to be on the bench.

Ted: Hi, guys. What's up?

Other coaches: Please have a seat.

Ted: Okay. (Looking at the serious-looking coaches standing in front of him) I feel like y'all are about to do some improv comedy or tell me that you're dating each other. Either one's cool with me. 'Cause your suggestion is ally.

Other coaches: (Sharing glances with each other, and then) We have to take Roy out of the starting lineup.

I can only interpret that sentence literally and don't understand the supposedly funny joke/implied meaning of it. Is that a cultural reference to something or what? Thanks in advance.

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  • Could "is ally" be a mistranscription, perhaps of "is silly"?
    – Peter
    Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 5:47
  • @Peter Pretty sure it's "ally". Just watched the clip again and he definitely says "ally" so it's not likely to be a mistranscription.
    – dbwlsld
    Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 6:07
  • 1
    The word is correct, according to the official subs straight off Apple TV. I have no clue what it means. French says "Parce que je suis votre allié", German "Ich stehe ganz zu euch", both of which would suggest he's 'on their side' should they wish to try either a comedy routine or join as a couple. It still makes no real sense to me as written, in English. You can kind of tell what he means by the pause & the raised fist, but the sentence itself is not vaguely idiomatic to my ear. [Maybe it would be to an American football coach.] Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 10:40
  • @DoneWithThis. I don't think an invented meaning (by translators) in French and German makes sense for interpreting the original in English.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 15:31
  • @Lambie - as all three are from the official source, it's there if it might lend credence to the English. It's more useful than a terse line moaning about it six months later. Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


It's an improv joke. When doing improv, the participants receive suggestions to start from. So Ted's suggestion to start their improvisation routine is "ally", which is also his way of saying he supports them.

  • More specifically, he is combining the "improv" idea with the "dating each other" idea. In the jargon of the LGBTQ community, an "ally" is a straight person who supports queer causes.
    – MJ713
    Commented Apr 27, 2023 at 15:17

The subtitles would be clearer if they used quotation marks.

'Cause your suggestion is "ally".

In other words, the suggestion is the word "ally". The suggestion is not itself an ally.

The term "your suggestion is '[X]'" comes from improv comedy. This is a form of comedy where the performers receive a suggestion, prompt, or topic on stage, and then come up with a funny skit or sketch on the spot. (The most famous example is probably the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway?)

In the jargon of the LGBTQ community, an "ally" is a straight person who supports queer causes.

So, Ted is indicating that he would be supportive if his coaches (who are both men) started dating, while also making a humorous reference to what he said about improv comedy in the previous sentence.

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