Former Head Writer of The Tonight Show Picks His Joke of the Week

Congrats to Eric Wickstrom for winning this week’s joke pick!

Pro comedy writer Joe Toplyn, Former head-writer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman, picks his joke of the week:

Winner: Eric Wickstrom, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Grandson of Bob Marley Signs Contract with NFL

Punch Line: The contract was immediately rolled, lit on fire, and passed around the room.

To write this great joke, Eric might have turned to the infrequently-used Punch Line Maker #5: Visualize the topic.

Eric could have formed a mental picture of Bob Marley’s grandson signing the contract. Then Eric could have chosen an association of that mental picture, Bob Marley, who has the sub-association “marijuana.”

Finally, Eric could have exaggerated that marijuana association to get a different perspective on his original mental picture, namely a new picture in which the grandson becomes an exaggerated ganja smoker and enthusiastically transforms the contract into a giant spliff.

But Eric didn’t just write “He immediately transformed the contract into a giant spliff.” Instead he used Joke Maximizer #11: Don’t be too on-the-nose.

And he made his punch line even funnier by employing Joke Maximizer #10 — Use the Rule of Three.

Four-time Emmy winner Joe Toplyn is a former head writer for David Letterman and Jay Leno. He also wrote the book “Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV.”

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