Definition of comic relief in US English:

comic relief

noun

  • 1Comic episodes in a dramatic or literary work that offset more serious sections.

    • ‘Along the way we'll meet some good cops, some bad street thugs, some comic relief and of course lots of things getting blown up.’
    • ‘I did, however, find comic relief in this part of the book.’
    • ‘This is why Shakespeare inserted comic relief in his tragedies, and it's why human beings today will often resort to ‘gallows humor’ at a fatal shooting scene.’
    • ‘Apparently, he's a hilarious raconteur on stage, and indeed, the album could use a bit of comic relief in moments when the drama gets slightly overwrought.’
    • ‘They want the full, three-generation saga, the life story, with full-throttle melodrama and comic relief, with fights and beautiful sets and aching, soulful stares.’
    • ‘Intended for comic relief, the song and dance numbers come across as uninspired and robotic.’
    • ‘I should add that a good auction is almost like theater - there's suspense, drama, and often comic relief.’
    • ‘Despite its less-than-uplifting message, the film escapes self-conscious drama hell through well-timed comic relief.’
    • ‘… ‘People complained a lot about Gimli just being there for comic relief,’ continued Wilcox.’
    • ‘This episode is played for comic relief, and it works somewhat well.’
    • ‘However, this translated more into a vehicle for comic relief throughout the film than a serious threat.’
    • ‘If there is such a thing as comic relief in an already funny show, this was it.’
    • ‘The creative rationale for this storyline is comic relief.’
    • ‘Moments of deeply affecting emotion are balanced by bursts of comic relief, allowing the script to stay buoyant and the characters to remain real.’
    • ‘It uses moments of slapstick to deliver comic relief where none is warranted.’
    • ‘There are elements of classic comic relief throughout Barker's interlocking tales.’
    • ‘As it is a crime drama, the home scene is used for comic relief and only slightly to reveal backstory about one of the main characters.’
    • ‘But, like a Shakespearean tragedy, occasional instances of comic relief are provided, too.’
    • ‘Presumably, the intent is for these exchanges to add a little comic relief, but even a bad stand-up comedian would stay away from this material.’
    • ‘This could have the potential to be distracting, but in this presentation it fits into the feel of the play and either adds to the drama or provides comic relief.’
    1. 1.1 A character or characters providing comic relief.
      ‘the archaeologist, who begins as oafish comic relief, exemplifies her gift for character drawing’
      • ‘There's also a great deal of comic relief in the form of eccentric and quotable marginal characters.’
      • ‘Cathleen, the maid, contributes comic relief.’
      • ‘I don't know if his character was supposed to be comic relief or creepy, but whatever it was, it sure felt a hell of a lot like overacting.’
      • ‘He's all the comic relief the film needs.’
      • ‘Lee includes secondary characters who are on hand for comic relief, and one of the battles leavens the action with laughter.’
      • ‘Somewhere along the line the scriptwriters took this character and decided that he would be good as comic relief.’
      • ‘Here she's just a shrill little character that is supposed to be comic relief.’
      • ‘Dallas Smith elevates his character way beyond comic relief.’
      • ‘On the other hand, he's good for a bit of wisdom or comic relief, so his character isn't a total waste.’
      • ‘Sprinkled in for comic relief are a few offbeat characters, such as a pistol-packing police chief who duels with a mechanical gunslinger in his office closet for spontaneous rounds of target practice.’
      • ‘She's the comic relief, or the shoulder to cry on.’
      • ‘The only weak addition is that of Eve's tippling brother, Martin, whose presence is probably intended as comic relief, but whom I found annoying.’
      • ‘Rather than have one character pop up in the story for the inevitable comic relief, every supporting character (with the exception of Lucy's father) fights for the honour.’
      • ‘In this performance you watch a character who first appears to be comic relief, reveal layer upon layer of humanity until she seems more real than the person in the seat next to you.’
      • ‘They tend to be an intense, evil icon or comic relief.’

Pronunciation

comic relief

/ˌkɑmɪk rəˈlif//ˌkämik rəˈlēf/