A comedy is funny business — it can be an amusing play or movie with a happy ending, or something that happened that made you laugh.

A comedy tries to entertain through honest depictions of life, unlike burlesque, which aims to please its audience through satire, or farce, which relies on absurdity. Charlie Chaplin observed, “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” In other words (of disputed origin), "Tragedy plus time equals comedy." When you slipped on that banana peel and broke your nose? Tragedy! But once you got better, you realized it was actually kind of funny.

Definitions of comedy

n a comic incident or series of incidents

clowning, drollery, funniness
Type of:
fun, play, sport
verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)

n light and humorous drama with a happy ending

drama in which the protagonist is overcome by some superior force or circumstance; excites terror or pity
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black comedy
comedy that uses black humor
commedia dell'arte
Italian comedy of the 16th to 18th centuries improvised from standardized situations and stock characters
dark comedy
a comedy characterized by grim or satiric humor; a comedy having gloomy or disturbing elements
farce, farce comedy, travesty
a comedy characterized by broad satire and improbable situations
high comedy
a sophisticated comedy; often satirizing genteel society
low comedy
a comedy characterized by slapstick and burlesque
an extravagant comedy in which action is more salient than characterization
seriocomedy, tragicomedy
a comedy with serious elements or overtones
sitcom, situation comedy
a humorous drama based on situations that might arise in day-to-day life
a boisterous comedy with chases and collisions and practical jokes
Type of:
the literary genre of works intended for the theater

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