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

Winner: Jerry Krull, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Rite Aid has sold 1,900 stores to Walgreens.

Punch Line: The purchase receipt was 3 miles long.

Jerry might have used Punch Line Maker #1 — Link two associations of the topic — to write this great joke.

One handle of the topic is “Rite Aid,” which has the association “really long receipts.” (Although my usual drugstore chain is CVS, where the self-checkout machines spit out seemingly endless receipts, as an audience member for this joke I’m willing to accept that Rite Aid does the same thing.)

Another handle of the topic is something like “a lot of items sold.” When Jerry linked “really long receipts” to “a lot of items sold,” he arrived at his punch line about a really, really, really long receipt. Jerry made the receipt 3 miles long because he used Joke Maximizer #8 — Wildly exaggerate.

Alternatively, Jerry might have used Punch Line Maker #5: Visualize the topic. He might have formed a mental picture of Walgreens standing at a self-checkout machine in a Rite Aid, scanning 1,900 little stores one at a time, then watching a crazily long receipt unspool.

Jerry also used Joke Maximizer #1 — Shorten as much as possible. While you could argue that the word “purchase” is unnecessary, I agree with Jerry that it’s worth keeping in because it ensures that the punch line is immediately clear.