What do you call a joke that has a punchline which as been emphatically implied through omission, as in...

[Comedian peeling banana, saying...]

"one skin, two skin, three skin, (pregnant pause)...five skin"

[...arch look and lifted eyebrows]

Benny Hill used to do a lot of this, and I am trying find a name for it. I have looked up types and classes of jokes, but cannot find a definition for it.

  • I would call it "pulling your punches". – Hot Licks Jul 16 '19 at 22:28
  • @HotLicks That is interesting. I have heard the phrase but only in the reference of not hitting someone too hard... – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 22:29
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    In the case of Benny Hill, I'd call it censory deprivation. – Phil Sweet Jul 17 '19 at 0:17
  • I am sorry @KJ, I just now realized that you had answered the Q in comment. It was perfect. – Cascabel Jul 29 '19 at 21:55

I should imagine it would have to be something which, as with all jokes, creates an expectation, which it then disappoints, but perhaps not without a double entendre. How about this?

Iocus interruptus

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  • As Mel Brooks once said, "It's all a ...matter of..........................timing." – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 20:59
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    While sex is often comedic, and comedy sometimes sexual, I could only read that with the implication of your double entendre...cool. +1 – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 21:16

Thanks to Mobitela Fonia's answer, and (now it seems) to K J's comment, I was able to track down a definition at the same source which pretty much gave the best answer.

Stealth pun

The writers put in a joke (almost always a pun), but never make or put in a Punch Line or explicit statement, hiding it in the set up of the joke. Some percentage of the audience will "get" the joke, but the rest will know it was there and be going, "What? Why didn't you say it?" There can be several reasons.

1) It's naughty or otherwise not appropriate for this timeslot, in which case this serves the same purpose as a Last-Second Word Swap.

-TV Tropes

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Also, another way of naming a joke of this sort is a "mind joke" a bit like a "mind rhyme" (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_rhyme). But, as far as I have seen, an official name for this joke-form does not exist.

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  • Hi Mobitela...could you please edit your original post? I liked it, and it would greatly benefit from a few edits, including the info in this answer. – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 21:48

According to "TV-Tropes" a joke without a punchline is an "orphaned setup" (the information was obtained from: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OrphanedSetup).

When characters tell jokes, the whole joke is rarely told. We hear either the punchline or setup. In this case, only the setup.

So in this case there is no real punchline, and is "orphaned".

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  • What I am saying is please include it your question? Just click on the Edit button. – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 21:06
  • Sorry, but "shaggy dog" stories totally depend on the punchline. – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 21:10
  • I am starting to reconstruct your answer. If you are not happy with the changes I make you can "roll-back". – Cascabel Jul 16 '19 at 21:11
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    This is not what is being asked for in my opinion. In the OP the punchline is there it’s just not verbal. I think of the orphaned setup as what happens in Breakfast Club when the joke is interrupted by Bender falling through the ceiling. – Jim Jul 16 '19 at 21:28

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