Term for a Certain Joke/Smart-ass Remark Format

“Program speakers are determined by application, invitation, or result of an arm-wrestling match.”
“I’ve always loved Los Angeles…the beach, the weather, the horrific traffic.”

What is it called when you make a tripartite list like this, where the last element is incongruous and added for comedic effect? I coulda swore there was a name for it.

Forgot to add:
Thanks in advance for your wisdom, thoughts, and hurtful mocking.

You may be thinking of the Comic Triple, pretty much the same as the Rule of Three, The first two items provide misdirection, your mind automatically goes to something else that fits with the other two, and then the funny comes from the incongruous third item. But the Rule of Three in comedy doesn’t necessarily take that form, it can just be three funny items.

Around here, it’s called the “Hi, Opal!”

“But then I got a little older, a little wiser, a little brother…”

And I should have added that TVTropes deals with it in various ways, listed as sub-tropes of The Triple.

Comedic triple, pretty boring but that must be it. I was hoping it was something Greek like ‘synechdoche’, but I’ll take it.

Thanks, all.

I’ve heard it called the Rule of Threes

Now that that’s been answered, do you have any other questions, comments, or snide remarks?

Beast: I want to do something for her. But what?
Cogsworth: Well, there’s the usual things. Flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep.

Will you accept “hendiatris”? It’s a type of tricolon.

That’s basically what it’s called. It’s a particular convention which embodies “The Incongruity Theory.” This doesn’t explicitly mention the “tripartite” aspect of the OP’s specific question, but it makes sense that you need at least two items to set up the initial pattern.


How about, “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana”? No triple, but it works by means of indirection, right?

That’s just a pun, relying on two different senses of both “flies” and “like”.