Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Comic relief is the inclusion of a humorous character or scene or witty dialogue in an otherwise serious work, often to relieve tension.
Comic relief often takes the form of a bumbling, wisecracking sidekick. A sidekick used for comic relief will usually comment on the absurdity of the hero's situation and make comments that would be inappropriate for a character who is taking the story seriously. For example, in the first two James Bond films starring Roger Moore, an American sheriff named J.W. Pepper serves as comic relief.
The appropriateness of comic relief in some works is debatable, as some find them annoying or unwelcome additions.
Shakespeare often included comic elements in his tragedies; the recurring character Falstaff and the door-keeper in Macbeth are examples. Sometimes his inclusion of puns or jokes in otherwise serious scenes can seem inappropriate to a modern audience.
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