comic relief


Definition of comic relief

: a relief from the emotional tension especially of a drama that is provided by the interposition of a comic episode or element

Examples of comic relief in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Greg Thornton is similarly tentative as King Rorik, Gertrude’s doting father, but Mary Stout is a font of go-for-broke comic relief as Herda, the lady’s maid to Gertrude. Don Aucoin,, "‘Gertrude and Claudius’ casts a different light on ‘Hamlet’ at Barrington Stage," 31 July 2019 But, oddly enough, there’s a weird burst of comic relief in the episode coming from Smithereens head honcho, Billy. Rachel Paige,, "In Your Heart, You Know What Black Mirror's Billy Bauer & Smithereen Are Based On," 8 June 2019 As written, the role of Benjamin Franklin is the drollest of the show, offering much of the comic relief., "Playmakers in Covington presents ‘1776’ with a twist: The cast is mostly women," 26 June 2019 But the latest manifestation gives the show’s literal monster a new voice and a terrible agenda while letting its figurative ones serve as puppets or over-the-top caricatures and comic relief. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Stranger Things season 3 goes full Aliens with its action," 5 July 2019 Best friend and comic relief Ned (Jacob Batalon) is too busy yukking it up with a new love interest with jokes that feel wholly detached from FFH's primary thrust. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man: Far from Home," 1 July 2019 Tracee Ellis Ross matches Tyler’s weirdness as the highly neurotic Pearl Edwards, sprinkling comic relief during the song’s love cries. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 20 Best Music Videos of 2019 (So Far): Staff Picks," 20 June 2019 The 32-year-old actor, who brought both a credible threat and comic relief to the role of T'Challa's rival M'Baku, says there was some fear in the early days of filming in 2017. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Black Panther Breakout Winston Duke Is Ready to Reset Hollywood," 4 Dec. 2018 The second act begins with tenor Thomas Segen seated on his gold toilet, calling the press, comic relief but also a caricature of the president that doesn’t exploit his influence back then on the public. San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD professor Anthony Davis’ opera ‘The Central Park Five’ goes where Netflix doesn’t dare," 17 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'comic relief.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of comic relief

1783, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about comic relief

Statistics for comic relief

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for comic relief

The first known use of comic relief was in 1783

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on comic relief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with comic relief Encyclopedia article about comic relief

Comments on comic relief

What made you want to look up comic relief? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!