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
  1. noun
    a comic incident or series of incidents
    synonyms: clowning, drollery, funniness
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    type of:
    fun, play, sport
    verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)
  2. noun
    light and humorous drama with a happy ending
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    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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