WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
comic relief, 
  1. Literaturean amusing scene, incident, or speech introduced into serious or tragic elements, as in a play, in order to provide temporary relief from tension, or to intensify the dramatic action.
  2. Literaturerelief from tension caused by the introduction or occurrence of a comic element, as by an amusing human foible.
  • 1815–25

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