You expected an event to happen, but the spoken cue fails and you vainly keep saying it.
This trope is when you repeat a word or phrase, hoping that just by the repetition you'll make something happen. Here's an example: You and your friend have set up a scheme. When you say the word, your friend will trigger an event with perfect timing. Maybe you're going for dramatic flair. Maybe you're trying to fool an audience into believing you're magic. Or maybe you're just stalling until the villain is in the right spot to trap him. In any case, things have to go just as planned. You're giving your speech. The big moment arrives, and you utter the code phrase...and nothing happens. So you say the phrase again, hoping the event will now occur. Still no dice. Maybe your friend didn't hear you? You repeat it again, louder and with more emphasis...and still nothing happens. Rule of Funny means that, if the event actually does eventually happen, it will always occur either after you've given up, or between recitations. Example: "Behold this event...Now!" (beat) "...Now!" (beat) "...No--" (interrupted by event) This is an example of a phenomenon in behavioral psychology called an "extinction burst," which is where a behavior that's been consistently rewarded in the past suddenly isn't rewarded, and the behavior will briefly become more frequent before it stops. Psych textbooks use the example of flipping a light switch, finding that the lights don't come on, and then flipping the switch on and off again a few times before you give up.