In an era when many sneered at Bayes, it took courage to create Europe's leading Bayesian department. Often the only Bayesian at meetings of the Royal Statistical Society and certainly the only combative one, Lindley defended Bayes' rule like a fearless terrier or a devils advocate. In return, he was tolerated almost as comic relief.
The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy by Sharon Bertsch Mcgrayne
How can I interpret “comic relief” here?