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

Congrats to Mike Frankovich 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: Mike Frankovich, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Airbnb Is Opening Its Own Apartment Building

Punch Line: They’re calling it a “hotel.”

To write this great joke, Mike used Punch Line Maker #6: State the obvious about the topic.

I list that Punch Line Maker in sixth position because you don’t see it in action very often. But for the right topic it can be very effective. If something about the topic strikes you as absurd, consider using Punch Line Maker #6.

The first step in Punch Line Maker #6 is to ask an obvious question suggested by the topic. When you first think about that topic, the question that might form in your mind is “Isn’t that just a hotel?”

The next step is to write a punch line based on the obvious answer to that question. In this case, the obvious answer is “Yes, that is just a hotel,” which gives you your punch line.

The last step is to write an angle that implies that your punch line will answer the obvious question suggested by the topic. Mike’s angle (“They’re calling it…”) does just that.

Mike made sure his joke was as funny as possible by eliminating all unnecessary words (Joke Maximizer #1) and ending on the laugh trigger, “hotel” (Joke Maximizer #2).

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.”