Definition of play something for laughs in US English:

play something for laughs

phrase

  • (of a performer) try to arouse laughter in an audience, especially in inappropriate circumstances.

    • ‘The original surf movies basically played the formula for laughs, with a few cheap thrills mixed in.’
    • ‘They played it for laughs, and there were plenty of those.’
    • ‘And while most of the characters are played for laughs, there are some truly poignant moments in this story.’
    • ‘Instead he plays it for laughs, as perky one-liners replace probing dialogue.’
    • ‘They feel that I want to play certain scenes for laughs rather than emphasising the seriousness of the situation.’
    • ‘Like everyone else, he played the situation for laughs.’
    • ‘The director encouraged me to play the part for laughs, and so a character developed which was effectively a satire on all my adolescent neuroses.’
    • ‘Learning from experience, we have adopted a highly conservative approach to fiction and mostly play it for laughs.’
    • ‘Rock seems uneasy carrying a semi-serious role, and can't conceal his natural urge to play every situation for laughs.’
    • ‘He thought if you're going to act the fool - and he did in one sense, he had that sort of clownish character - then you had got to play it for laughs.’