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

Congrats to Eric Eldridge 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 Eldridge, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Johnny Depp asks: “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?”

Punch Line: I’m not sure but I do know the last time an actor assassinated the role of Willy Wonka.

To write this great joke Eric might have used Punch Line Maker #3: Ask a question about the topic.

On reading the topic, maybe Eric asked himself, “Who else did an actor assassinate?” Then Eric answered that question using an association of the topic handle “Johnny Depp,” namely Depp’s inferior performance as Willy Wonka. That answer to the question became the punch line.

Are most people willing to accept the idea that Johnny Depp butchered the role? I agree with Eric that they are. I also agree that most people would accept that Depp, like Kathy Griffin, deserves to be called out for joking about killing the president.

Notice that Eric made his joke as funny as possible by using Joke Maximizer #6: Make the punch line parallel; he repeats the topic phrase “the last time an actor assassinated” in his punch line.

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.”