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I've tried searching for terms relating to humourous repetition, but the only term I can find is "repetition". And that's absolutely fine, I don't mind referring to it as such if necessary, but I feel that this particular device is specific enough that it needs something more specific to describe it.

As an example, let's say someone makes a list of top 5 characters they don't like in World of Warcraft, and they say

  1. Garrosh. 2. Garrosh. 3. Garrosh. 4. Garrosh. 5. Garrosh

The humour lies in the fact that Garrosh is a recognisably-terrible character to the majority of WoW players for several reasons. The repetition itself isn't funny, but the context of what is being repeated renders it humourous to people who understand the context.

Another example, from Alestorm's song "Mexico":

The wenches they are plenty, the alcohol is free

The party lasts all through the night and the alcohol is free

The humour lying in the fact that he's listing reasons the place he goes is fun and mentions the alcohol being free twice because, well, he's a pirate. Of course that's going to be a selling point worth mentioning more than once.

But other than repetition, does anyone know of a term that describes this kind of device?

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  • Blazing Saddles: "Next! Qualifications?", "Rape, murder, arson, and rape", "You said rape twice", "I like rape". Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 12:56
  • @FumbleFingers Yep, that's exactly the kind of thing I mean. :) Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 12:56
  • @FumbleFingers On a less topical note it's been a while since I was last on here, so it's nice to see you're still around. :) Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 13:01
  • Thanks for the memory! You've inspired me to go and see what I could find Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 13:39
  • Not sure if you remember me, I have a slightly less memorable username. XD Incidentally, how did you find that? I did try some searches but I didn't turn anything up. Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 13:45

2 Answers 2

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From Wikipedia...

In rhetoric, an epizeuxis is the repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, typically within the same sentence, for vehemence or emphasis. It is also called diacope.
As a rhetorical device, epizeuxis is utilized to create an emotional appeal, thereby inspiring and motivating the audience. However, epizeuxis can also be used for comic effect.

Examples (with a nod to another rhetorical device - "The Rule of Three") include...

Top three factors to consider when buying property:
Location, Location, Location.

Blazing Saddles thug recruitment line:
"Next! Qualifications?", "Rape, murder, arson, and rape", "You said rape twice", "I like rape!"

Tony Blair's election-winning slogan:
Education, Education, Education

(Wikipedia doesn't actually include my second example. But I couldn't resist, since my top three all-time favourite movies are Blazing Saddles, Blazing Saddles and Blazing Saddles :)

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It’s called “comic torture.” You repeat something a few times because it’s funny. You keep repeating it until it’s not funny anymore. Then you KEEP repeating it until the repetition itself becomes so ridiculous, it’s funny again. The show “Family Guy” is famous for this.

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