In the nomenclature of comedy, “beat” has two meanings:
1. Major sections of a scene are called beats. A beat is a significant event that leads to changed circumstances. It has a beginning, middle and end of its own. Although an entire scene could be comprised in one beat, a single scene usually contains more. A list of a scene’s beats is called a beat sheet.”
2. A beat is a moment’s pause. Pausing purposefully onstage is called “taking a beat.” “A couple of beats” is, of course, a longer pause.