In Gilmore Girls, describing a debutante ball: "It's like animals being up for bid at the county fair, except sheep don't wear hoop skirts."

This kind of over-the-top, facetious detail is used throughout the show and fuels the witty dialogue. Is there a word for humor created by such an unexpected, specific detail?

This question suggests "facetious synecdoche," but I don't think the example above is synecdoche (except for "sheep" being representative of "animals", but it's really the "hoop skirts" that drives the humor). I'm also not looking for: "detail," "imagery," "satire," "hyperbole."

  • 1
    +1 nice, very nice question. It's hard to believe that you're a new user.
    – NVZ
    Feb 12, 2017 at 7:13
  • its saying girls are animals
    – JMP
    Feb 12, 2017 at 8:01

1 Answer 1


In comedy, this is called tagging a joke. The tag is a following reference to the punchline that adds comedic effect. Here the (supposedly) amusing punch is the comparison of debutantes at a ball to farm animals to be judged at a fair. The tag is the mention by denial of hoop skirts on sheep, which attire is suitable only for debutantes, i.e., neither for sheep nor for reasonable women.

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