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What does the comb do?

Forgive me for being naive...

But what is the purpose of an "open comb" on a DE safety razor? What's the difference in shave between such a razor and one that's closed straight across under the blade? Just guessing, but does one flatten the skin more at the expense of "glide"? Can someone who's tried both give me some insight?
I have one of each. I think the open comb allows longer whiskers to stand up better, but they both seem to shave about the same to me.
I have used each too and have found them to shave equally well; however, YMMV. This question has been debated several times on this forum, do a search and I'm sure you'll come across one of the threads.

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