I grew up with my Dad and Grandfather watching comedy that was not meant for a kid my age. And most of the time I wouldn’t understand it, but I never heard them laugh so much.
There is one such scene with comedian Dick Emery where he is a farmer with a stutter, talking about his brother, who he says is a “right c’c’c’conservative”.
The joke is simple – it set up is on the screen, but the punch happens inside our heads as we complete the stuttering with a different word.
Similar, but different, we can see Austin Powers start a joke on one scene, and give a punch line on another.
I’ve ‘bolded’ the start to a new scene below, so I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Colonel, you better take a look at this radar.
What is it, son?
I don’t know, sir. But it looks like a giant–
Take a look out of starboard.
Oh, my God,
it looks like a huge–
Wait, that’s not a woodpecker.
It looks like someone’s–
We have reports of
an unidentified flying object.
It is a long, smooth shaft,
Two balls! What is that?
That looks just
like an enormous–
Wang! Pay attention.
I was distracted by
that enormous flying–
Well, it looks
like a giant–
Call British Intelligence and let them know about this.
As you can see, sometimes not saying the punchline to powerful; and other times you can move the punchline to another scene. Both of which create a novel response, and often laughter too.