punch line

the climactic phrase or sentence in a joke, speech, advertisement, or humorous story that produces the desired effect.

1920–25, Americanism

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World English Dictionary
punch line
the culminating part of a joke, funny story, etc, that gives it its humorous or dramatic point

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
The punch line is a little different, but you know the joke.
The punch line is much sooner than later they will have to use the restroom.
Gives one the chance to wonder what's going through his head before the punch
  line is delivered.
It was a former pizza mogul who's never held elected office and who until
  recently was a punch line for political insiders.
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