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

Congrats to Gary Anthony 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: Gary Anthony, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Uber president Jeff Jones steps down

Punch Line: Their next president is 8 minutes away in a blue Nissan.

One way Gary could have written this great joke is with Punch Line Maker #3: Ask a question about the topic.

Two of the many “Five Ws and an H” questions you might have asked about that topic are “Who will be their next president?” and “Where are they getting their next president?”

To get a punch line, you would then answer one of those questions in a surprising way by using an association of the topic handle “Uber.”

One association of Uber is that it gives you your vehicle’s description and expected time of arrival. And that association served as the basis of Gary’s punch line.

Notice that Gary didn’t just write a punch line like “Their next president is arriving in an Uber.” That would have been too general and on-the-nose. Instead, he used Joke Maximizer #9 (“Get specific”) and #11 (“Don’t be too on-the-nose”) and came up with that funnier wording.

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.”